Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why I Have Faith in the "Millennial" Generation


When You Hear the word "Millennials" what comes to mind?


Do You think “disloyal”, “lazy”, and, most of all “entitled”? Do You believe they are hard to manage?  That they expect the best perks ~ flexible work schedules, the ability to telecommute ~ while also needing constant praise? 




I believe this negative view is off the mark.  I have faith that they are much more.



Millennials are innovative, confident, and at ease with change.



Innovation comes from being more free thinking and willing to try new things.  They are not hampered by what has come before. Being new to the workplace means they bring a fresh perspective, not an “entitled” one.



Yes, they want things.  They want the benefits that allow them to have a personal, as well as a professional, life.  Far from being unreasonable, I see this as a move in the right direction.



Millennials are also driven and want to make an impact wherever they go.  Their confidence pushes them to voice their opinions and promote new approaches to things.  And those that are willing to listen, will also find themselves thinking beyond the status quo.



I welcome this.  Without new voices in the mix, we risk becoming stagnant and out dated.  Neither is ever a good thing for any company.


The same can be said for their “tech” skills.  More than any other, this generation grew up with technology.  From early ages they have used computers, tablets, smart phones ~ you name it.




Being this relaxed frees them from the fear or reticence some older workers deal with when using technology in the workplace.  They are more at ease with creating video promotions, using social media, and building company websites.


The biggest criticism of the Millennial generation is that they are disloyal.  Many believe they move from job to job without appreciation for the companies that hire them.


This is unfounded.  What I see perceived as disloyalty is simply the unwillingness to settle.  Instead, of remaining in a company that no longer fits their needs, they are willing to move on and seek employment where they see real growth potential.


I also think much of the fault lies in the company’s corner. 


Millennials have grown up seeing adults around them lose jobs in companies where they have worked for many years.  These companies were willing to let go of long-term employees just to make new hires at lesser salaries.


Loyalty should go both ways, and the Millennials are going in with their eyes wide open.  This is not disloyal.


Instead of these qualities dividing Millennials from their co-workers, they should be embraced.  Each generation of employees within a company can learn from the other.  This results in the best of both worlds ~ a marriage between the tried and true and the up and coming.  


I argue that this is what each new generation through the history of time brings to the table!



They bring change that often times creates fear and distrust in the preceding generation.  Thoughts that “this younger generation is going to be the ruin of our country” are not unique to the Millennials.  It has been said time and time again as a new generation enters the workforce.


I chose to believe that these new generations are simply filled with fresh perspectives and ideas on how and why they work.  


This should not be met with distrust.  We need to see it for what it is ~ a way to stimulate the thinking and the methods that will propel us all into the future.


On a personal note, I find Millennials to be increasingly accepting of others.  I think this has much to do with them having grown up in a time where stereotypes are continually being shattered.  There is no “norm”.  This bodes well for cooperative relationships both in and out of the workplace.


And this is as it should be.


I leave you with the wise words of Benjamin Franklin;


Authored by  




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Monday, January 20, 2014

“Concrete” Steps to Help Me Reach My Goals!




Many people look at the start of a new year as a time to make resolutions.  They want to lose weight, get a better job....any number of things they believe will make their lives better.


I do things a little differently.  



Since the holidays are such a busy time for me, and I want to devote as much of it to my family as possible, I always take the first week or two of a new year to reflect.  That is when I take a good, hard look at where I am and where I want to go.


This year, after much thought, I am focusing my efforts on my professional life.  I have decided on some concrete, specific goals that will get me where I want to be with my business.


And I believe these Small Business Tips will help you too!





My 5 Step Plan

  • Social Media Connections
My goal is to make one “meaningful” connection on my social media networks each week.  What is important is that I do not use the word “meaningful” lightly.  

These new connections will be ones where I work to develop a great reciprocal relationship.  I will look to them as sources for posts I share and also be there for them if they need information I can offer.



  • Website
I admit I have been lax with my website.  For the past year I have focused my efforts more on my blog and even on some of my social media sites.  Now it is time to take my website up a notch.

My plan is to make it less “static” and more interesting.  To achieve this I will add new content at least a couple times a month.  I will also include more visual appeal with pictures, info-graphics, and possibly video.

Update:  I decided it worked best for me to make my blog my website.  While this is certainly not for everyone, it made sense for me.  My blog is continually updated which makes for a much fresher site (which is completely in line with my goal).




  • Guest Blogging 
This year I plan on making a stronger effort to not only share the articles of others on my blog but to put myself out there and share my own.  Last year I began a reciprocal relationship with one blog.  Every other month I either use of of their articles or they use one of mine.

This has worked out wonderfully.  It gives me a “break” from my own writing, while in turn getting my thoughts out to a completely different audience.  I want to do this on a bigger scale this year.

I love the idea of Guest Blogging as it completely falls in with my desire to “pay it forward” and promote other small businesses.

Update:  I, along with a partner, are starting a new "Blogging Mastermind" group that will definitely fast-track my guest and collaborative blogging efforts!

  • Networking
I stepped into networking in a small way last year when I began attending informational lunches with local business owners.  While this group held monthly meetings, I only managed to attend sporadically.  I am hoping to remedy that this year.  

I found the people I met in this group to be very giving, helpful, and interesting.  I think it is important for me to become more involved with them.  My goal is to volunteer to present at one of their meetings.

Update:  I did it!  I formally joined this networking group and have attended many more meetings.  I also presented with a talk on Blogging for Business!

This will be a step towards increasing my networking and accomplishing my final goal..... 



  • Making My Business Less “Scary” to Small Business Owners
I have found that there are misconceptions about the employment background check business (I have addressed many of these in previous articles you can find in my website) .  The biggest problem I encounter is the misconception that what I do is an “invasion of privacy” and that my reports keep many job seekers  from getting hired.

Through sharing upfront and transparent blog articles and social media posts, along with my participation in online and real life groups, my goal is to dispel these beliefs.  I want to let people know exactly what I do and why.  It is most important to me that they see that what I do is an important part of the hiring process and especially how I can be a partner, not an adversary, in it.



This is my plan for the coming year.  Each of these goals are things that will really help my business grow to the next level.  It will be hard work, but I know that I and my business are worth it.



However, goals do not have to be fixed and “concrete”.  Instead, throughout the year, mine will most likely be in a continual state of flux.  I will focus on what works, discard what doesn’t, and move on from there.



What will be more “concrete” are the steps I take to accomplish them.  Goals without plans to achieve them rarely amount to much.


I think I am on the right track this year.....are you?


Please Pay it Forward and Share this on your favorite social sites!  Thanks!



Authored by  





I can help you achieve some of your own small business goals this year.  Contact Me and I will partner with you to hire the best talent to put your business on the right path.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What My Favorite Sports Movies Have Taught Me about Business ~ And Life!



I have gained many life lessons from playing sports, watching my children play, and cheering on my favorite teams.  The belief in hard work, fair play, and team work is something that has had a great impact on me.


I am also a sucker for great sports movies.  Whether they are funny, uplifting, or inspired by real events ~ it doesn’t matter.  I find myself wanting to watch them again and again.


What I have also found is that by watching them I can learn a lot about life.  Here are some of my favorites and what they have taught me.......





Brian’s Song (1971)
Tagline:  An inspiring true story of friendship and courage.


Brian’s Song is the first sports movie I remember watching.  When it was released in 1971, I was only 9 years old, but even now I vividly recall the overwhelming sadness I felt when Brian Piccolo died.  I cried for at least a half hour even after the movie was over.  


The strength of the friendship that grew between two strangers, Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, was magnificent to watch.  Despite competing for the same position, their love of the game of football forged a strong bond between the two.


The scene that embodied this best was the speech Sayers gave as he accepted the George S. Halas award.  Sayers closing remarks; “I love Brian Piccolo.  And I’d like all of you to love him too.  And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.” gets me every time.


What this movie taught me was that time is short.  There is little value in saying that you will do something “tomorrow” as there is not always a tomorrow.


We all need to embrace the time we have and “go for it”.  The parting words on Brian Piccolo’s death by Coach George Halas say it all:
“Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember - but how he lived. How he did live!”.



Hoosiers (1986)
Tagline:  They needed a second chance to finish first.

I didn’t watch this movie until years after it came out, but what a story!  Like Brian’s Song, this movie is inspired by true events.  It follows the basketball team from a small Indiana high school as they pursue a state championship~ and who doesn’t like to watch an underdog make good?


At its most basic, Hoosiers is a story of hope and second chances


Characters Shooter (played by Dennis Hopper) and Coach Dale (Gene Hackman) each get the opportunity to rise above their past and achieve something worthwhile through coaching this team.


So no matter what may have gone before, each of us has the ability to put it aside and start over.  I have done this often in both my business and my life.  Sometimes it is necessary to leave the past behind.  


However, the life lesson from Hoosiers that had the most impact on me is that there is no glory in winning at all costs.  The glory is in playing to the best of your ability.  That is what really matters.


In Coach Dale’s words; “If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners.”






A League of Their Own (1992)
Tagline:  This summer, Tom Hanks and the Rockford Peaches prove that a woman's place is at home...first, second & third.

A League of Their Own taught me a lot about how women struggled to be taken seriously in professional sports.  Despite real talent, it is suggested to the players that they need to put on a “show” to draw a crowd ~ resulting in the famous “catching split” performed by Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis).


However, as the film goes on, the women gain a real following.  Their hard work and talent even convert men who originally came to only see the novelty of women playing baseball into fans.


What I also loved about League was how it touched on the balancing act these women had to navigate.  The scene between Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) and Dottie when she is leaving the team to go with her husband says it all:


Jimmy’s belief that despite the sacrifices, having the opportunity to do what you truly love is worth it“It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.”

This lesson has served me well.  I love running my own business, but I also know that it is not always easy ~ especially when I also need time for my family.  Rarely is anything worth accomplishing easy.

Bonus:  Watching Tom Hanks deliver the line;  “There is no crying in baseball”!



The Sandlot (1993)
Tagline:  A piece of paradise a half block wide and a whole summer long.


Unlike the other sports movies I have listed here, there is no big game or winning home run scene in The SandlotWhat it does have is one of the best depictions of the sheer joy to be found in simply playing.


Some of the best friendships many of us will ever have in our lives were found in our backyards and local courts.  There you could always find a pick-up game of some kind.  I spent many summer evenings playing kickball, “kick the can”, “release the prisoner”, or any number of games with my friends. 


We also learned how to solve squabbles without any adults present, how to play fair, and how awesome it was to be able to do it all over again the next day.  Watch the trailer to see what I mean:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QDq-e1GbjE 


Bonus:  One of my favorite lines from the film (and I use it often) is “You’re Killing Me Smalls”!







The Little Giants (1994)
Tagline:  For everyone who's waited to be chosen, and wasn't... your day has come.

I still love watching The Little Giants.  Getting the chance to watch a group of kids no one thought could ever learn to play football become a team is priceless.


For me, the best lesson comes from discovering that a team that “should” win doesn’t always win.  The half time locker room speech from Coach Danny O’Shea tells it best: 

“Well, wait a second, guys. Who said you had to be good to play football? You play football because you want to. You play football because it's fun. You play football so you could pretend you're Joe Montana throwing a touchdown pass, or Emmett Smith going for a long run. And even if those Cowboys are better than you guys, even if they beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves...
Tad: One time.
Rudy Zolteck: One time.
Junior Floyd: [Smiles] Yeah... one time!”


It is important to realize that the possibility of losing is no reason not to try.  And, you never know, when it will be your “one time”, so go for it!


Bonus:  Greatest play ever “The Annexation of Puerto Rico”.  For years when watching football I have predicted that the next play would be “The Annexation of Puerto Rico”.  And then ~ I saw it actually used in a pro game!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn4cioLwa30







Remember the Titans (2000)
Tagline:  Before they could win, they had to become one.


For me, Remember the Titans is the ultimate “team” movie.  It shows the power that can come from looking beyond the surface of a person to find what is inside and become part of a true team.


Remember the Titans tells the true story of an Alexandria, VA high school football team in the early 1970s at the height of desegregation.  The journey from a team divided by race to one of strong bonds and teamwork is fantastic to watch.


The movie is full of inspirational moments:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWJs2Gof538


From the speeches given by Coach Boone, to the players’ transformation into more than teammates but friends, we see what can be accomplished when people learn to be more open and accepting.


Once scene that sticks in my mind is when Gerry Bertier is in the hospital after a tragic car accident leaves him paralyzed from the waist down.  Julius attempts to visit and is stopped by a nurse saying; “Only kin's allowed in here”.  Gerry responds; “Alice, are you blind? Don't you see the family resemblance? That's my brother.”.


I also love when Coach Yoast tells the team; “I hope you boys have learned as much from me this year as I've learned from you. You've taught this city how to trust the soul of a man rather than the look of him. And I guess it's about time I joined the club.”.


From Remember the Titans we can all learn that change is rarely easy, but changing what is inherently wrong or no longer working is worth it.  Many times people in business stick with the status quo simply because it is seems easier.  This can be a mistake.    


We can also learn to look beyond the surface to find the true essence of a person.  That is where we will discover if they are worth knowing.  This can be invaluable when hiring or deciding whether to do business with someone.

Bonus:  Remember the Titans has a Killer Soundtrack - House of the Rising Sun, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, Up Around the Bend, Peace Train, and the list goes on!







The Rookie (2002)
Tagline:  It's never too late to believe in your dreams.


In The Rookie, real life high school science teacher and baseball coach Jim Morris tries out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball team after making a deal with his high school team.


Morris finds himself, at the age of 35, surrounded by much younger players.  However, his blazing fast ball gets him noticed, and ultimately into the big leagues.


What I take away the most from The Rookie is the importance of dreams.  According to Morris; “If you don’t have dreams, you don’t have anything”


And dreaming is not only for the young.  It is important to have hopes and dreams throughout our lives.  These can be ongoing ones that we hold on to and ones that change according to circumstance.


Many times dreams are not meant to be practical.  They can be things that may seem fantastical one day, but can become reality with hard work and focus.


I also love how in The Rookie, even when Morris' dreams are coming true, things are not always easy.  He experiences times of self doubt.  However, it is then that he remembers his “why” ~ for the love of the game; “You know what we get to do today?  We get to play baseball!”.


That is the kind of enthusiasm I try to keep for the choices I have made in my own life.  I keep dreaming of where I want to go, and find joy in where I am now.  I think that is one of the greatest lessons anyone can learn!


Bonus:  I would love to hear which sports movies you would pick!


Authored by  




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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Employment Credit Checks ~ Will They Soon to Become a Thing of the Past?















Update....the bill is still undergoing Congressional scrutiny and has not been passed into law yet (6/1/2015)



In the news.....Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, along with six other senators, have proposed the Equal Employment for All Act.  



This bill would limit the ability of employers to require applicants to submit to a credit check or to use any negative information found as a basis for denying employment.


According to Senator Warren and her colleagues, employment credit checks are keeping those who need jobs the most from being hired.  Their belief is that there are many reasons for bad credit ~ but losing a job along with health insurance tops the list.  Such a blow frequently results in people getting behind on their bills.


"A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual's character or abilities," Warren stated. "Families have not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and too many Americans are still searching for jobs.” 


Also at issue is the disparate impact that credit checks have on certain groups; mainly minorities, women, students, and senior citizens.  Using credit reports in determining employment results is discrimination against these applicants since they are the hardest hit in a down economy.


Warren also believes that there is simply no proof of a link between a person’s credit and their ability to perform in the workplace; “It makes no sense to make it harder for people to get jobs because of a system of credit reporting that has no correlation with job performance and that can be riddled with inaccuracies."

Errors in credit reports are definitely a concern, especially when those errors may keep applicants from securing a job.  Currently applicants are given the opportunity to dispute or explain information found in their credit report.  However, it is still possible that an employer would choose one candidate over another due to a poor credit report.


The Equal Employment for All bill does allow for credit checks to be used for government positions that require security clearances.  There are also some other types of jobs, the banking industry for example, where credit checks for employment in certain positions is required by law. 


Despite much support for the bill, there are those that oppose these restrictions on employers.  This faction supports an employer’s right to access credit information as a way to measure potential employees and the impact they may have on their business.


They argue that when an employer requests a credit check for employment purposes, that report is a modified version that reveals credit history, but not an applicant’s credit score. 


This modified version would include: 

  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Bankruptcies (not to be considered in employment decisions under federal law) 
  • Tax Liens
  • Judgments
  • Child Support obligations
  • Loans



Employers would use the report to look for “red flags” such as judgments or liens against the applicant that would show a pattern.  However, this information is generally obtainable when conducting a civil court record check also.


The modified credit report would not include:

  • Credit Score
  • Bank Accounts
  • Personal Investments



Despite these limitations, I do not think using credit checks to determine employment is necessary.  The information obtained in a credit check, even the “modified” ones supplied to employers, is simply not needed in making an informed hiring decision.  Unless required by law or when hiring for upper level positions, other options are available to employers for determining whether an applicant is the right choice.

  
Verifying employment, education, and past criminal history gives the employer a clear enough picture of the applicant.  And since the use of criminal records is already limited in many states, the chance of discrimination is currently addressed when using criminal record checks for employment.


While there will be continued debate on the issue, curbing the use of credit checks in making employment decisions seems wise.  The economy and job picture has put many in our country in precarious situations.  Further penalizing them by limiting their job prospects is counter-productive.


Filling and creating more jobs to help people get their lives back in order will do more for our country than putting more obstacles in their way.  I believe that every employer has the right and obligation to hire wisely, but relying on credit checks to make those decisions is not the answer.



Authored by  



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