Tag Archives: perception

Journey to a Non-Profit

Grew up eye-shot of La Tuna, Federal Correctional Institution, in Vinton, Texas. Living close enough to be part of the environment, I wondered what it was like to be on the inside.

Pushing several years into the future, I became a 16-year old outfielder with a family organized softball team. Scheduled to play against several prison (trustee) teams, we were given the privilege to go inside.

Frightened as our van approached for the first time, this 16-year old imagined hardened muggers, killers, rapists, and all around monsters. No doubt television and culture told me what to expect… I drank the juice.

Too often, reality and truth simply does not mean the same thing. I spoke to several of the monsters on the inside and before long, socially twisted perceptions was replaced with “how could I have gotten it so wrong?”

Backed by a lineage of family, direct and indirect, seeing both sides of freedom, I knew the men and women who have stumbled needed more than social/cultural/employment stigma. Over the years I’ve worked with many on the inside and found their self-perception generally accepted their lives and futures to be fated by loss and failure… where mirror’s reflection is empty of Hope.

Close to 20 years ago I got involved with a company which produced professional development courseware and programs. Though designed for the executive, I knew this was a stepping stone to bridge my path alongside those who have been misplaced along their way.

In 2003 I began the groundwork for 2nd Chance University but timing (and money) prevented progress. Leaping to 2012, Christian HELP and the Central Florida Jobs Initiative provided a medium to perfect my program and provide an evidence-based system.

Numbers were more than impressive but something was lacking. Upon pushing, was informed these two organizations disqualified those with a justice-involved background from the program I developed.

Months later, we parted ways. At that time, necessity dictated an

E to the 3rd

onward throttle to customize a program for those needing support, guidance, and tools to gain Commitment, Hope, and Empowerment.

Will continue on what happened next shortly. Until then, be kind, be the key,


(MO)tivator or (N0)tivator: You Represent?

baby wolf by Jose Inesta
baby wolf by Jose Inesta

Too often we game ourselves into believing work performance and attitude tell the story of MOtivation… unfortunately, many are fooling themselves by representing NOtivation to all but themselves.

Several key words/terms in the above sentence need to be unpacked before the looking glass:

  • Tell the story: This refers to the message of your behavior as defined by your supervisor, co-workers, and customers being served. Truth is, don’t matter what you believe to be truth, others define every step you take, every move you make, and every breath you take (yes, they will be watching you).
  • Motivation: Do the actions and messages you perform represent enthusiasm? Wondering how enthusiasm is displayed? Here’s a quick tutorial: desiring to learn (and do) more than minimum job responsibilities and expressing a good attitude. Supervisors and co-workers notice those who are willing and wanting to grow with the company; willing and wanting to take on new challenges; willing and wanting to represent.
  • NOtivation: Does the mere thought of getting to work cause cramps or undue anxiety? Truth is, the vast majority of employees are not satisfied with their employment situation. Tall-tell signs of being a NOtivator include being late, performing the bare minimum (just enough to get by), rarely assisting others though you are caught up and able to do so, navigating the Internet or your personal phone during business hours, declining cross-training opportunities, holding a “not my job” attitude, and watching the clock with quivering anticipation. Naturally these are just a few of the obvious signs for the NOtivator as there are many more.

After reading the above, if your reaction was “who cares,” congratulations, you are swimming with the majority of folks out there and boxed yourself in as a NOtivator. How long do you tread?

Ever wonder why you keep getting ignored when it comes to job promotions or pay increases?

For the record: Promotions and pay increases are not a right, they are a privilege; a privilege rarely earned (or given) to the NOtivators in the world.

Take an objective look in the mirror. Reflect on what the person looking back sees… not just the surface, but the actions and attitudes behind and beyond the blind.

If you dare, imagine what the customers experience when you assist their needs. Imagine what your co-workers define and if respect has been earned. Imagine if you were your supervisor or owner of the company… would you give the person looking back a promotion or pay increase? If so, why? If not, why not?

Looking glass moment: through the eyes of the customer and company, what do your ACTIONS represent?

One of the most difficult (and bravest yet rewarding) things in life is self-examination. Truth is, until you see who that person looking back really is, you’ll reside behind a sheath of disillusion preventing progression and personal/professional happiness.

I won’t ask the question again… for now.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com 321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

TI (9)? I Exist… And You?

Much has happened over the past week as David slouches in the saddle once again. Last time we reviewed how the power of affirmations and visualization can lead to great success, personally and professionally. Catching up with David we find that part of his process during the termination process revolves around one simple question: “Are you existing or living?”

DSC_0090 Two weeks ago I asked David to begin the affirmation and visualization process – of which he states he has. Problem is, he now questions if there is a meaning in life or do we just exist between birth and death? Actually a complicated question asked throughout the ages… and first asked (officially) by a Socrates. So many years later, same question… same excuses.

David: “Once terminated by Bertha, I stopped thinking about duties of the day and began to think about purpose… or if there is one. This thought hit hard last week while standing in a return line at Walmart. I saw on the faces of all entering sadness, hollowness, and burden. Their eyes and body language yelled existence, not living. I stood there, wondering if my eyes disclosed the same lack of passion… water began to swell and I’m not really sure why. I just felt so much sadness, like I was drowning in a river of emptiness.”

Taking David’s thought to the next level, questions slid inside a diving pool… are we poised to ask, do we dare ask, are we afraid of the answer: “Are you living or existing? Are you happy with your life, your career, and who you are?” With heaviness, I followed David’s experience at Walmart and took trip to our local market for a view from my own eyes.

Like David, I saw what he saw… for the first time my eyes opened to a world where self- and social- delusion no longer blinded vision. Who knows, perhaps I noticed you in the crowd… did you see me or are you capable of sight?

Knowing the vast majority of people are not satisfied with their current job/position, I would like to know how you are going through each day without purpose, not just professionally. With this, I encourage each reader to take the next fifteen minutes to reflect on themselves and respond to the following (would appreciate feedback but expect none):

  • What does the concept “exist” mean and how does it differ from the concept of “living”
  • Are you doing what you believe you were born to do
  • What keeps you motivated, professionally and personally (please do not say money)
  • When you are gone, what do you want to be remembered for (do not mention easy things like being a great mom, a great dad, a hard worker, a religious person, a great knitter—I am looking for something unique—and we are all unique—and personal)

With these questions in mind, I went back to David and asked for his insight. As expected, David remained depressed over the termination.

David: “When teaching and seeing student eyes open to new possibilities and insight, I grasped a sense of wonder dreamed about as a young child. Yeah, I’ve owned, operated, and ran large and small organizations, but the feeling of being alive was only profound when teaching. Bertha took that away, and enjoyed doing it. I’m trying to visualize regaining that sense of self, but all I see is her smile, smirking and slashing without regard to civility, right or wrong.”

Danny: “Yes, getting back on the track to ‘living’ is not going to be easy, but it can be regained. Perhaps you will find some comfort in the old saying, ‘what comes around, goes around?’ Who knows what karma has in store.”

What about you? Are you afraid to look into the mirror with eyes no longer shut? Are you existing day to day until death or are you living, appreciating the moment? When was the last time your body thanked your lungs for air? Think about it before slighting the question as being silly. Look behind the veil, if you can.

I’m not asking for me, I’m asking for you: Are you existing or are you living?

Looking onward, David comes to share more about his trip(s) and times alone with Bertha. Through the next few letters, you will recognize the deceit and desperation behind the makeup Bertha wore so well.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how ECS can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Blog site: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Career Advantage Spotlight: LinkedIn

DSC_0010There are many ways to display your life to the world. You can showcase your talents on YouTube, every random thoughts on Twitter, and those entertaining social engagements and life progressions on Facebook. But there is one digital space where you can make professional connections that can positively impact your career, and that’s LinkedIn.

A few things make LinkedIn different than the others. The most obvious is, of course, the professional platform it offers. While on Facebook you can put people into categories and say that you know them from school or church or that park up the street, LinkedIn’s main priority is your professional relationship with your contacts.

Not interested in what you ate for dinner or who you partied with over the weekend, LinkedIn concentrates attention to your professional side by incorporating interactive tools which can be used for your advantage. Through the use of recommendations, your electronic tattoo is bolstered by those who have worked with you. Along those lines, you are able to endorse each other in professional accomplishments and skills.

This revolutionary site has been around for a while, and if you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you are missing out. Current hiring trends are clear: most potential employers research your digital presence before scheduling interviews. For those with a strong electronic presence, this is a perfect way to back up your resume and get ahead of the competition.

Don’t lose your edge – use it. Update your profile often, and build your network wisely. Make sure to endorse other people for their skills; they’ll be more likely to endorse you for yours. If you think you don’t know where to start, think again.

Here’s an easy tip to get started: Pick any job you’ve ever had. Think of someone you worked with that you respected, and search for them. Once found, send a formal request to connect. When selecting digital professional networks, don’t sell yourself short.

As for your online profile, broadcast anything that would be valuable for an employer. You never know what can happen. Remember to keep it professional… always. While on this note, never get involved with controversial topics, including religion, politics, etc.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com

Company Christmas Party: Go or No?

Now is the time of year for company Christmas parties. Whether you’re the kind of person to look forward to wearing funny red hats or if you are the type to avoid company gatherings like the plague, holiday jamborees mean a great deal more than eggnog. Truth is, what happens during holiday events could enhance your professional standing (or, on the other hand, not attending may leave a bad taste amongst your peers and supervisors by sending the wrong kind of message).

Tropical Air Gathering, 2013
Tropical Air Gathering, 2013

Dusting off holiday humbugs and attending Christmas parties and networking events would be beneficial to you personally and, most undoubtedly, professionally. Upon holiday event invitations, consider the following when making your decision as to “go or no.”


The Networking advantages during company Christmas parties should be enough to kick out uncertainty. Christmas parties are a priceless opportunity to network with individuals in your company that you may not work with on a daily basis. Maybe they are in the department that you wish to join, maybe they have the position you want, or maybe they’re even in charge of that department or position. This is your chance to build professional relationships outside of a normal work day, and most importantly, to let peers and supervisors get to know why you are a great employee looking for growth.

Added bonus: Taking advantage of Holiday Company networking by making a positive impression they won’t forget is your career advantage during promotions or transfer opportunities.


This is another valuable aspect of these gatherings. While not everyone feels precisely the same way about the holidays, this is nevertheless a personable opportunity to showcase festivity and company buy-in. Building professional identity and company unity by taking take part in activities that are not necessarily work-related has been proven to enhance the working environment while also increasing output. Company owners and supervisors alike recognize the importance of camaraderie and the effects of a positive working atmosphere.

During the holiday party, it is not recommended to hang around the circle of peers  you hang out with outside of work all the time… this is the time to discover and expand your depth of professional relationships.

Camaraderie clue: Keep conversations positive and casual, benefiting not only you and your coworkers, but your company as a whole.


However you may feel about yourself now, there is so much to be said for stepping out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territories, especially in your place of work. Getting to know new people is often a psychological hurdle. However, it is one with rewards much greater than the risks. This is most true when it involves those that have the potential of advancing your career. If you can learn to work the room and mingle an appropriate amount, letting people view that winning side of you, you will see positive results.

Or you can politely decline and not attend the company Christmas party. By doing so, what messages are you sending? Here’s a clue or two: you are not a team player, you are more important than other employees, you don’t care about the company, your job, or the people around you.

Problem is Perception: Looking through the eyes of supervisor(s), co-workers, and owners, NOT attending provides a negative perception. When it comes to career success, nothing tops more than how one is viewed… professionally AND personally.

There are many reasons to attend your company Christmas party. You can walk away with new contacts, a renewed vision of your career, and possibly new goals as well. You may have even made an unlikely friend and gained a funny (hopefully harmless) story to tell later on. Whatever you do, don’t pass up this opportunity. Work hard to make the most of each opportunity and do not compromise your career by ignoring the rippling effects holiday parties produce. You’ll thank yourself later. And, of course, most importantly, have one very Merry Christmas!

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Career Advantage: Highly Sensitive Precision

DSC_0057Ever find yourself getting hung up on details? Maybe your job is the fast-paced, big-picture kind, and maybe you find it frustrating. For highly sensitive people, details matter, and they matter hard. In the wrong place and to the wrong person, this can look less than desirable.

For the HSP, if the results of meticulous work are not instant and obvious, there is a tendency to be standing on the short end of criticism. For those not understanding what it means to be an HSP, there seems to be unfair finger-pointing, even to the point of being accused of procrastination, lack of dedication, or worse…

Reality Check: Being an HSP does not necessarily mean that you are easily distracted, lazy, or uncommitted. Being an HSP might just mean that you have a skillset that is not being utilized where you are.

That skillset is your attention to detail. It is precision. And that is something that many companies desperately need from you are unable to recognize only because they are unaware of the multitude of advantages you offer to a company’s bottom line.

Reality Check: How one is perceived and defined too often depends upon social conditioning and, unfortunately, social ignorance.

The Highly Sensitive Person’s brain does take longer to process information, but it does so more thoroughly than the average person. This means that the Big-Picture people can run around all day, overlooking things in trying to keep up. Truth is, companies need someone like you. Company’s need those who will keep them afloat with details that could be overlooked in pursuit of the big picture.

Showcasing the HSPs much needed contributions, suppose you were to notice an area in your workplace that could be improved with some fine-tuning only someone like you are able to recognize and resolve. You then take a moment to brainstorm ways that you could be of assistance in that improvement. Upon developing a strategic plan of action (as an HSP would do), you address the situation to your superior, highlighting an action plan and a most-likely result(s). Not only will your ambition be admired, but your ideas may be implemented. Who knows where you might go from there?

If you are looking for new employment, and you would like to utilize your precision, consider the marketable art of programming. There are a ton of training courses online, many of them free and fun for beginners. As you move up, you can find yourself subscribing to a site that could lead you directly into a career upon certification.

For more information on these training programs, check out this blog at http://jobsearch.about.com/od/careereducation/a/online-programming-training-courses.htm.

The Highly Sensitive Person is a uniquely added value requiring an innovative career management portfolio and plan. Over the next few weeks we’ll evaluate effective and industry-tested cover letter and resume strategies for your advantage.

Stay informed, confident, and know today is not just another day.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

BlockBuster: An old-fashioned bait and switch

Armed by language manipulation and consumer not-knowing better, BlockBuster’s latest move crosses the line by adopting a marketing technique called “bait and switch.” Bait and switch, defined by www.investopedia.com refers to: “A dishonest marketing tactic in which a marketer advertises a very attractive price/rate/term that is really a teaser rate meant to attract customers. Once the customer comes into the store/office to inquire about the advertised price/rate (the bait), the advertiser will attempt to sell the customer a more expensive product (the switch).

Connecting the clearly laid out dots trailing this practice has been typically reserved for the mortgage industry. Oh how times have changed as greed bleeds across unsuspecting lines: Over the years BlockBuster has introduced trusting consumers within the movie/game rental business to the ugly workings of corporate gluttony.

Though today focuses on one avenue inducing deceit, mail-in exchange service, the concept of BlockBuster’s illegal activity is well documented (Goggle: BlockBuster bait and switch to become introduced to a wider view).

Not sure if you’ve fallen prey to commercial deception? Here’s what an Orlando BlockBuster customer is experiencing first hand. To eliminate confusion, we’ll go ahead and name him Zeke. Zeke and his family have been with BlockBuster since the beginning by joining in as mail-in/in store exchange client (three discs at a time). At a monthly price of $21.99 Zeke was sold on the concept of “unlimited rentals, free in-store disc exchanges, and an additional coupon for two free monthly releases.” Not a bad deal and, for close to a year, just long enough to attain a complacent consumer. For all practical purposes, all worked well.

After the first year, BlockBuster decided that two free in-store coupons was too good a deal and, as a result, sliced the deal to one without adjusting Zeke’s monthly bill.

Being content with the ability to watch between 20 and 25 movies a month without interruption, there was no cause for alarm. Within months Zeke noticed mailings began to stall; as opposed to receiving exchanges in a timely manner, movies crept back to his mailbox (on average) two days later than they should.

Consider this: The longer it takes, the fewer movies will be watched. The result, movie watching dipped from between 15 and 20 monthly… without a dip in BlockBusters monthly income.

Months passed while neighborhood BlockBuster stores closed and, before long, Zeke was forced to travel extended lengths to exchange movie rentals. Frustrated by increased travel time and gas, in July of 2012, Zeke made his first call to BlockBuster as the promise of “unlimited monthly movie rentals” was quietly jeopardized.

Issue resolved? Do you really need to ask?

Fast forwarding a few months, while at the Altamonte Springs Blockbuster January 18th, Zeke was informed the store would be closing in two days. Feeling abandoned and tricked by an unsympathetic and uncompromising corporation, Zeke checked his bill and, though not to his surprise, $21.99 remained.

Zeke then called BlockBuster and had the pleasure of speaking to their first line of defense:
Zeke: “There are no stores for movie exchanges, what is going on?”
* “Sorry for the inconvenience but we do have three stores in your area for exchange.
Zeke: “The closest store is 15 miles away, the second closest is over 25 miles, are you telling me I need to spend at least an hour out of my day and a gallon of gas?”
* “Sorry for the inconvenience, if that is too far you still have unlimited movie rentals by simply dropping movies off in the mail box.”
Zeke: “But sometimes it takes over a week for a mailing exchange. I was promised unlimited movies and two free movie coupons when I began with BlockBuster. Now I will be lucky to get 12 movies a month through the mail without a building to exchange and still pay $21.99 each month for less than half the movies I was promised. What will BlockBuster do about the promises?”
* “Again, sorry for the inconvenience but you still have unlimited movies and I can decrease your bill three dollars and take the in-store coupon away.”
Zeke: “So, what you’re telling me I will receive half of what was promised but get only a three dollar reduction? I want unlimited movies as was promised. Let me speak to your supervisor.”

Within 60 seconds a gentleman with a strong accent came to the line:
* “How may I help you?”
Zeke: “I want what was promised, unlimited movies. I would be satisfied if my mailing queue was increased from three to six. This would allow me to have movies without interruption.”
* “But you have unlimited movies. Once a movie is returned, you receive another.”
Zeke: “Unlimited movies mean no interruption. Do you understand what the term ‘unlimited is’ and what I am asking for?”
* “I understand your concern.”
Zeke: “Not asking if you understand my concern, I am asking if you understand what ‘unlimited’ means? What will BlockBuster do to fulfill original promises?”
* “I will send an email to the higher-ups.”
Zeke: “In order to fulfill the unlimited promise, I will need my queue to be increased to minimize mailing delays. Have your ‘higher-ups’ thought about the promises or is this another case of bait and switch?”
* “I cannot answer that. I will send an email to my higher-ups.”
Zeke: “Tell me, why would I pay more than two dollars per movie I might get a week from now as opposed to going to Redbox where the price is half and delivery is instant?”
* “I cannot answer.”
Zeke: “Know what, neither can I. I expect resolution by this Friday, two days from now. This will give your higher-ups time to resolve what must be a countrywide bait and switch complaint.”
* “Thank you.”

Bait and switch is not a reality when two parties agree to terms and, if there are changes, all parties are aware and agree. Unfortunately for most consumers, deceitful corporations change conditions without revising, disclosing, or resolving concerns.

BlockBuster altered conditions, ignored promises, offered no resolve, and allowed no compromise; can you say “bait and switch?”

Zeke has yet to hear from Blockbuster and is still paying $21.99 monthly… for now. There has been no queue increase and no movies supplied for the past four days… maybe Monday will surprise with a disc. Then again, perhaps “unlimited movies” means different things to different people. For example, BlockBuster’s definition of unlimited movies seem to mean the consumer is allowed to watch one movie a week as many times as he or she wants… now that’s well worth $21.99 each month.

If you have fell victim to unethical practices, let WONO know about your experience(s) so we can help others before they too are deceived.

Leaving bait and switch for the unscrupulous, I am

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Amazon: Search “Danny at ECS” for a complete offering
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com