Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Value of Networking During the Holidays

Photo by erin walker on Unsplash
Today I attended the CIT networking event.  I sat in on a discussion led by Marty Latman (career coach and consultant) about networking.
 He said that there are several reasons why it's good to keep networking during the holidays. I've also added a few that I've heard before.
  • People want to talk and get together at this time of the year.
  • People are generous at this time of the year.
  • You can usually find higher level people at their offices. Since many people are out, it's easier to get in touch with higher level people. The "gate keepers" are out on holiday.
  • You usually find people have more time. People are not as busy at work.
  • You have less "competition" because many people are not thinking about networking at this time of the year.
Here are some of the tips that he mentioned (and some related ones I've heard before). I've numbered them so you can refer to them, but these are not in any particular order.
  1. The holidays are a good time to rejuvinate your network.  Reach out to someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Wish them a Happy Holiday and ask to get together to reconnect.
  2. Send out holiday greetings: mail, email, ecards - This gets you back on people's minds. They will be happy that you are thinking of them.
  3. Call people on the phone and catch up on things
  4. If someone looks at your linkedin profile, send them a message telling them you saw that they viewed your profile and ask if there is anything you can help them with.
  5. If someone connects, send them a message to welcome them and ask them why and if there is anything you can do to help them.
  6.   Look at your resume and write down the names of people you worked with. Then, try to contact them. 
  7. When you ask someone for help, ask for something that they can be successful at. Don't just ask them for a job or work or to sign up for your services. Ask them for something they can be successful at, like giving you a reference, some information, or advice. Then, they can feel good that they helped you. Be very specific too! Don't just say I am looking for work. What type of work? Or, if you want a contact, tell what type of contact.
  8. People who you wouldn't think would help you (sometimes people you didn't know), might be the ones who help you the most. And, sometimes those who you think would help, don't help you. And, then there are those who are just "takers." They may never want to help you, just take from you. If they ever ask for help, you can decide if you will help them or not. No one is obligated to help anyone. If someone doesn't want to help you, just move on.
  9. Be clear, concise and brief in your elevator speech so people know exactly what you need.
  10. Don't just rely on linkedin. You can also do a google search on people
  11. Google search yourself too! This way you'll know what people might find out about you and you'll be ready to answer them if they ask you about something they saw.
I hope all these tips help. If you have any comments, questions, or additional suggestions, please comment below.

(note: this article is also cross-posted in LinkedIn here: )

Saturday, October 27, 2018

You Can Make a Positive Difference!

You can make a positive difference in this world!

Today I led another meal packaging event with church, volunteers from the community, and Rise Against Hunger! Together we packaged 20,000 meals!

I had a great team of people from the church who worked tirelessly to raise over $5800 to fund the meal packaging.

Someone asked how we raised the funds.  
We had two bake sales, a fundraising day with Panera, and a fundraising day with Fuddruckers. One of our team members sold over $20,000 of ShopRite cards over the past year. ShopRite gives 5% of the sale of those cards to us for the fundraiser ($1000 this year). A church group, Hillside3d, gave over $1100. We also had a tent at Suckasunny Day and collected funds from folks from town stopping by.

We had several businesses donate funds (and Flanders Bagels donated dozens of bagels for the event)!  We created a banner for our supporters (we used printastic to print it). We hung the banner at the event and took photos of everyone with it. The banner will be hung at the Rise Against Hunger warehouse in Kearney New Jersey where it will be seen by all of the groups who come there to package meals (I'll post a photo here later showing the banner in it's new home).

You can make a difference too!
  How?  You can contact Rise Against Hunger and they'll work with you. If you can raise enough for 10,000 meals, then you can package them at your location. If you don't have a location big enough (or if you can't raise enough for 10,000 meals), then you can pack meals at their local warehouse. There are dozens of warehouses across the country. Our local warehouse is in Kearney, New Jersey.

How I started
I started doing this in 2016 after I volunteered at a meal packing event that was sponsored by IBM and Arrow electronics at a conference in Las Vegas that I did a few presentations at. I was very interested because our church had done something very similar with GAIN USA a few years ago. I enjoyed working side-by-side with people so much at those events that I wanted to do it again. I stepped up to make it happen! You can too!

Here's what I've been able to lead:
  • October 22, 2016 Hillside Church:  $3,633.12 = 12,528 meals packed by about 60 people (shipped to Uganda)
  • Feb 25, 2017: IBM Club NJ at RAH Kearney Warehouse: $2,944 given by IBM Club NJ = 10,152 meals packed by about 50 people
  • May 13, 2017: IBM Club NJ at RAH Kearney Warehouse: $2,000 IBM Grant = 6,696 meals packed by about 40 people (shopped to Haiti)
  • October 28, 2017: Hillside Church: Raised $3,382.56= 11,664 meals plus 1,512 meals that Heinz donated to match the same amount we went over our 10,000 meal goal = 13,176 meals total packed by 80 people. (Shipped to Swaziland)
  •  October 27, 2018: Hillside Church: Raised $5,888.16 = 20,304 meals packed by about 80 people. We will hear soon where these are shipped to. I'll post a comment here when they ship.
So, with the 46,008 meals packed at church and the 16,848 packed through the IBM Club NJ, we've packed 62,856 meals!

Do you want to lead an event like this?
If you are interested in leading an event like this, the folks at Rise Against Hunger would like to work with you. If you would like my input, I would be happy to help! Just contact me! It's loads of fun! You get to meet a lot of great people, connect a lot of people to others, give people a chance to help others, and help so many people to have the food that they need too!

How to Donate for the 2019 Event
If you want to donate to the 2019 event (or volunteer to help), you can donate online at this link:

Or, you can mail a check to the church:
Hillside Church; 113 South Hillside Ave, Succasunna, NJ 07876 USA" and put "Rise Against Hunger Meail Packaging" in the note on the check.
Thank you!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Is it Time Management or Task Management?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Can we really manage time, or can we really only manage our tasks?

I've spoken to so many people on this subject, I realized I should put my notes in a blog post so that others can benefit.

Here are some of the techniques and tools I use for time management.

  • Prioritizing work:  7 Habits of Highly Effective people: Habit 3 is putting first things first
    • There is a matrix showing important on one axis and urgent on the other. Work falls into one of the four boxes. 
    • Prioritize the work that is important over work that is urgent.
    • It's fairly easy to prioritize work that is important and urgent, but trying to get to work that is important and not urgent is more difficult. So, use a calendar and put it on your calendar.
    • There is work that is important 
  • Getting things done
  • Pomodoro technique

  • You can use paper or a daily planner book or any tool you are comfortable with. Here are some other tools that I have used. I like the first one the most.
  • Kanban tool and a bit about personal Kanban (how to use the tool effectively)
  • Google Calendar

What are the methods, techniques, and tools that you use? Please like and comment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Agile and Scrum Master Certifications

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Agile and Scrum Master Certifications
(For those of you not familiar with agile, you might want to read this first or look up Agile in Wikipedia)
From my research, I've found that there are 3 popular Agile certifications:
  1. PMI ACP : Agile Certified Practitioner offered by Project Management Institute
  2. Certified Scrum Master - offered by the Scrum Aliance
  3. Professional Scrum Master - Offered by
There are others too, but from what I see, these are the ones that are most popular.
I have used various Agile frameworks/methods for many years, but haven't been certified. I did receive an Agile Practitioner badge as a result of spending many hours in 3 comprehensive IBM Agile courses. I really learned a lot from them. I wanted to go further in Agile training.
I was trying to decide which path to take, so I read the information at the following sites:
After reading them all, I decided to go for the PSM first. I do put a lot of value on the ACP, but I saw lots of job postings asking for agile and scrum and thought that going for the PSM might be the best one to start with. 

I found the following links that I have been using to study for the test:
  • Suggested Reading for Professional Scrum Master™ - This page suggests where to get the Scrum Guide, books, videos, courses and more for training. The Scrum guide is important to know and the Scrum Open Assessment can be taken many times.
  • Scrum Training Series - These free video courses are great. There is a test of several questions at the end of each lesson which have references to reference material to let you know why the answer is the correct answer. This aids me in learning.  There are also links to documents and videos that I found helpful.
I'll come back here to update this as I progress in studying. 
If you have any thoughts on the certifications, the path, or any questions, please comment. I would like your input.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Free Job Search Advice Links (tips, hints and more)

 photo credit Frank Vex @frankvex on unsplash

There are many free resources for how to conduct the job search.  (note: you may find this new post about methods to search for work being helpful too)

I'm listing a bunch of them here in no particular order. I've found these helpful or they've been recommended to me. I can't recommend all of them. Check them out and see which ones you find helpful, then comment with your experiences and suggestions below. Your use is at your own risk.

Job and work search advice:
Resume Customizers
You can also get your resume scanned to find out how to get it to agree with job postings using these tools. The use of these tools is highly suggested if you are applying "cold" to a job posting. Of course, following up with connections inside and getting referrals is most important!
Recruiter Websites:
Networking Meetings:
  • The Landing Expert ( - This site has a database of many networking groups. You can search by zipcode too!
  • In New Jersey: New Start Career Network
  • - find people who want to do similar things, or have the same hobby and network with them!
  • - Some companies post hiring events here. Just search on the word "hiring"

Job Search Websites:
Websites where you can post a profile and recruiteres/employers will find you:
 Salary research

  • Working
  • Service

Find Recruiters:

Find Contacts in Companies:
  • This article from Zapier has lots of helpful tips:
  • - find email address formats for people in companies

Do you have any suggestions?  Please post them as comments here!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Fun Party Game: Hunnert

A friend told us about this game recently and sent me these directions. We played it yesterday at the family reunion. We had children and adults playing it together. The youngest child kept asking to play again and again even though others won! Children can play as long as they know how to write their numbers up to 100.  The game is supposedly called "Hunnert" as a quick way of saying "hundred."

Place on the table one pencil and one die.

Give each player a blank piece of typing paper to place in front of them

The first player rolls the die toward the next player in a clockwise fashion

If the number rolled is a one, three, four or five - nothing happens and the next player rolls the die toward the person on their left

If the number rolled is a two, all players pass the paper in front of them to the person on their left

If the number rolled is a six, the player who rolled the die grabs the pencil from whoever currently has it and begins writing numbers from 1 - 100 on the piece of paper in front of them. They continue writing as rapidly as possible (and do not take any more turns rolling the die) until either someone else rolls and six and takes control of the pencil (and begins writing numbers on their own paper) or until they write numbers all the way to 100.

Whoever writes the number 100 on their paper is the winner.

Note: if someone has the pencil and a two is rolled, they will get the paper from the person on their right, so they will start writing numbers starting at whatever number comes next after whatever number was last written on that paper. 

Try it and comment here if you found it fun. Also, post here a comment with any fun games you like to play.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Save Yourself from a "Trip" to the Hospital

Save Yourself from taking a "Trip" to the Hospital!

I used to go to a barber in the next town. He retired, so I haven't seen him for a few years. He was a veteran. He told me many stories. One was about his wife. She fell down the stairs at his house once a few years back. She has suffered since then with injuries.
   Once we had a safety expert at work. He said that when something "almost" happens or when someone has a minor trip-up or accident, we need to heed that as a warning.
   I keep thinking about the barber's wife. I've made sure our railing is always tight.  Whenever I see how dark our stairs are at night, I think about articles I've read about people needing to be careful for safety in their homes and how we need to be careful about lighting. I've been thinking about using some electronics to make a light that senses movement and turns on.
Then I saw this at home Depot for about $13 for two (only one shown in photo).
We put them on our stairs. They work pretty good. There are other similar ones. I put one in the garage too. That one is mounted on the ceiling and lights up most of the garage.
So, here's a suggestion to save you from tripping on the stairs (or your garage or anyplace else) and taking a trip to the hospital. Think about getting something like this.
All the best to you!
I'd like to hear your thoughts on this suggestion. Please comment.