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Being Your Own Reference: Rating Yourself As A Professional In The Job Interview

Have you ever been asked, "How do you rate yourself?" in a job interview? The qualifier could be "as a professional," "as an employee," or maybe as the holder of a certain skill set. In most cases, they want you to give them an answer between 1 and 10 in order to get some concrete idea of where you and your skills are.

This is a tough question to answer. You will find advice that you should always rank yourself as a 10, or even higher. They say that anything less makes it look like you don’t have confidence in yourself or that you’re admitting a weakness.

In my opinion, automatically rating yourself at a 10 makes you seem a little conceited (at best). It sounds like a false answer, just like "I’m such a perfectionist" does to the "What’s your greatest weakness?" question.

At the same time, answering "5" may keep them from offering you the job.

Here’s how you should really answer, "How do you rate yourself?" in a sincere, job-winning way:

The best answer for someone with experience is a 7 or an 8. You’d elaborate on that by saying something along the lines of you see yourself as someone who’s learned a lot and is valuable at this point in your career, but you also realize that you can learn more from this organization—and then say what that is. This is reasonable, positive, and appealing.

If you’re just out of school or have very little experience, you should answer a little lower, at maybe a 6 or a 7. Again, elaborate on your answer. You see yourself as better than average (5) but with room to grow. You’re excited about what you can learn from this company and how you can contribute to it.

Is it ever okay to rate yourself at a 9 or a 10? Yes, but only if you’re a true subject matter expert with extensive experience. In most cases, we all have room to learn and improve.

Your interviewer will be surprised that you don’t automatically tell them "10" (or in some cases "11"). So make sure you explain your thought process. Say something like, "On a scale of 1 to 10, a 5 would be a true average, and a 10 is perfect. I think I’m better than average, and no one is perfect."

Continue the conversation in a positive vein by pointing out what you’ve learned that makes you valuable, qualities that make you a great fit for the job, and why you’re excited to continue your career at this company.

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 7 hours 1 minute ago

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Interview Questions About A Time You Went Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty

We all put a lot of thought and effort into how to answer questions about times we failed so that we don’t look bad in the interview, but how much thought do we put into choosing stories to answer softball questions like, “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty?”

Even though this is a positive question, it’s very important to carefully choose a good story to answer it well. You should always have a story or two to tell about times you went above and beyond at work. It points out that not only did you meet the expectations of your employer, you exceeded them. That shows you as extremely valuable to a future employer.

The key to keep in mind when choosing a story to tell is to choose one that speaks to how you could and would be successful in this new role. Think about the job description for this new role. Your first choice of story should be one that describes how you went above and beyond in relation to a central task in the description. This should talk about a conflict or a difficult situation related to your job that you overcame. If you don’t have a story like this, then a story that highlights a positive character trait can also be good, although there should still be a conflict and a resolution.

Whatever story you choose, you've probably heard you should tell it using the STAR method: (S)ituation or (T)ask; (A)ction you took; (R)esult you got. So it sounds like, “I faced this situation, and we needed that done. Based on (specific factors), I decided to do (specific actions), and the results were (whatever they were).”

However, a more effective way to answer behavioral interview questions like, "Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty?" is by using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" format. Employers nowadays can spot the STAR method a mile away, and your answer will come off as more genuine by using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" format instead.

An alternative way to answer this question is to bring out your brag book for a little show-and-tell time. Brag books are wonderful visual aids for your job interview. They help you communicate more clearly and more powerfully about who you are and what you can do.

Evidence can do great things for the impression you make with your answer. So, along with your story, show the note from your happy client or boss; the graph that shows how the production numbers went up after your action; or the award you received from your action.

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 8 hours 31 minutes ago

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7 Sweet Summer Jobs For Teachers

As a kid, I remember thinking teachers had great jobs because they got to take summers off. I didn't quite grasp the challenges of the position nor did I understand that, unlike their students, teachers do not spend the summer at sleep-away camp or catching up on video games.

I still think that teachers have great jobs, although for entirely different reasons. They get to play a meaningful role in the lives of their students, they solve new problems every day, and they are constantly challenged and constantly learning.

While very few teachers have the privilege of taking summers off, their unique schedules do allow them to take advantage of some cool opportunities.Here are seven of the best summer jobs for teachers.1. Teaching Abroad

Spending your summer teaching abroad can be a wonderful change of pace from the U.S. education system. These jobs also give you the opportunity to travel and experience a foreign culture with new students.

Abbey Road is one great organization that offers abroad summer teaching jobs. Qualifications include experience working with teenagers, experience of work, study, or travel in your destination country, fluency in the local language, passion and professionalism, and a college degree. Responsibilities include teaching classes, supervising students, and being on-call up to six days a week.

Compensation includes airfare, room and board, and a weekly allowance for incidental expenses.

2. Camp Staff

Working at a summer camp involves many of the same skills and responsibilities as teaching but in a more laid-back and enjoyable environment. As a teacher, you should qualify for more than just a position as a counselor, so look for a job that involves some administrative or supervisory responsibilities to earn a higher wage.

Qualifications generally include prior experience working with youth, as well as evidence of competency in any additional area of responsibility (e.g., administrative, teaching subject). You should expect to supervise campers, lead group activities and be on-call at night.

Pay generally ranges from $175 to $400 weekly, with provided room and board.

3. Tutoring

By taking advantage of your contacts with colleagues, students, and parents, you should have no trouble finding tutoring opportunities if you want them.

In addition to tutoring students in the subjects you teach, it may be worth considering tutoring in other areas. If you scored well on a graduate school admissions test when applying for your Master of Education, for example, you might be able to earn $50 to $100 an hour tutoring graduate school applicants.

4. Summer School

Of course, you always have the option of taking a summer position in the education field. Summer school jobs are usually comparable to your school-year job, but the shorter hours will allow you some time to enjoy the spoils of summer.

It also gives you the opportunity to engage students and reignite their interest in learning by teaching the students at their own pace, which can be incredibly rewarding.

5. Freelance Work

English teachers have more than adequate writing abilities for many freelance jobs. Many STEM teachers will have the necessary skills for work in web design, computer science, or online education fields. Working from home and making your own hours may also feel like a treat after nine months of rising early to commute to a crowded classroom!

It is hard to generalize about freelance work because you will likely end up working for multiple employers and negotiating your own deadlines and wages. A good bottom line for negotiating is not to accept any job that would pay less than you make as a teacher for the same time commitment.

6. Institute Of Reading Development

The Institute of Reading Development provides literacy programs that seek to instill a lifelong love of reading in students. Unlike most literacy programs, the institute not only provides classes for children but also trains parents on how to nurture and support their children's literacy development.

Responsibilities include preparing lesson plans, teaching children and parents, reporting student data, and more. Qualifications include a love of reading, leadership, warmth, professionalism, intelligence, and communication skills.

Compensation ranges from $500 to $700 a week.

7. Jobs In The Great Outdoors

Tired of working in a classroom? Get a job working to conserve the environment by building mountain bike trails, building bridges, and/or leading a crew of youth environmental conservationists!

You must be positive, articulate, hard-working, comfortable getting your hands dirty, and physically fit. Responsibilities include supervising youth, construction, and, in some cases, being on call at night.

Pay ranges from $260 to $575 a week

However you end up spending your summer, you should aim for a position that will give you a break from the particular stresses of the school year. As much as any teacher loves his or her job, the work can sometimes feel exhausting. A summer job should be a position that offers challenges and rewards of its own so that you can return to teaching refreshed and invigorated.

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This article was written by Senior Social Media Outreach Coordinator Sarah Fudin on behalf of Work-It-DAILY-approved Partner, 2U—an education-technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as USC to deliver their Online Masters in Education and MSW programs.

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 10 hours 31 minutes ago

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3 Signs You Should Look For A New Job

In most cases, people don't realize their job is in jeopardy or that it's time to move on to something else. However, I understand that changing jobs can be scary, especially in the current economy. But at times, it's necessary because you can be happy and fulfilled one day, then laid off and depressed the next.

Nothing can be worse than holding on to a job that will give you a headache in the end. Here are three signs you should look for a new job.

1. You're Underpaid

The main reason why you seek employment is to get paid to be able to pay your bills and meet other basic needs. Moreover, you deserve to be rewarded for the work you do.

If you're underpaid, it will be hard for you to put extra effort to really excel. This is because, to most people, pay is the best motivator. If you're not motivated, you may fail to perform as required and you may end up being fired. Therefore, if you're not being paid or you're paid significantly less than you deserve, this can be a good reason for you to look for a better job that meets your needs.

You can talk to your boss about a raise first, but if they don't recognize the value of your skills, then it's about time you look for a new job.

2. You're Undervalued

When you do spectacular work on a given project, but no one appreciates or recognizes your effort, it's terribly discouraging. A good company should give you a pat on the back for a job well done.

Recognition is a very effective non-monetary motivator, but if no one recognizes your efforts, it's like being in a relationship that has no affection. If your boss refuses to acknowledge or commend your accomplishments, you're less likely to be promoted or given any opportunity to advance in your career. There are no signs of future growth—more reason for you to look for employment elsewhere.

There are companies out there that can value your contribution. Don't close your eyes and continue working for such an organization. Start looking for a new job.

3. Your Company Has Financial Challenges

If your company is losing money, its future (and yours) looks grim. It would probably be wise for you to open your eyes wider for new job opportunities. It doesn't matter how important or fulfilling your job is because the company may not be able to keep you in that position. You may find yourself jobless whether you like it or not.

In such a situation, the future is not guaranteed and you should play it safe. It's better for you to be proactive and start looking for a new job at the first sign of trouble in your beloved company.

Whatever the case may be, if you see such signs and feel it's about time you secure a job elsewhere, don't be discouraged by stories about the tough job market. Just dust off your resume and put together several applications to test the water. This may be the start of a new chapter in your life.

Your daily sanity and comfort at work depends on you. Start looking for a new job and don't ignore the signs!

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 1 day 5 hours ago

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#1 Resume Improvement All Job Seekers Can Make

Is your resume generating offers to interview? If not, it’s time to make some changes. The number one resume improvement any job seeker in any field can make is simple.


Quantification means to describe your accomplishments in terms of numbers, dollars, and percentages. For instance…

  • “Led accounting team for division” is less effective than “Led team of 14 accountants in a $34M division”
  • “Increased efficiency” isn't as strong and specific as “Increased efficiency by 50% in 2 years”
  • “Won awards” is good but “Won #1 spot in sales team 3 years in a row” is better

Numbers are attention-grabbing, hard evidence of your success. They make hiring managers (your future boss) sit up and take notice of your resume. Hiring managers see resumes all the time that talk about job responsibilities and accomplishments. Seeing the numbers helps them put it into perspective and see you as more valuable.

Quantification boosts your chances of getting called in to interview. Almost anything can be quantified. One person tried to trip me up once by asking if even a janitor could quantify, but the answer is absolutely "yes." They could talk about how cleaning things up reduced workplace accidents or contributed to a company culture that was able to achieve 95% retention.

All jobs contribute to the bottom line of a company in some way. If they didn’t, the company couldn’t justify keeping someone in that role and paying them. All you need to do is think about how you in your job contributed to those goals. Show that potential new boss how you can benefit their company.

When you look at your resume with a goal of quantification, ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • How many?
  • What size?
  • What amount of time?
  • When?
  • How much?
  • How often?
  • At what rate?

You may not have complete records of everything you’ve accomplished. My best advice is to guesstimate. Don’t exaggerate; you need to be able to back up your numbers with some kind of evidence and stories that support them, and they need not be contradicted by your references.

Anything you can do to begin quantifying your accomplishments will help you stand out from other applicants and get you the interview. On top of that, it will set you up to appear more valuable to the hiring manager when they do interview you. That gives you a leg up in the interview and in later salary negotiations. It’s all good.

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 1 day 6 hours ago

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5 Things To Consider Before Quitting Your Job

Quitting. It's a huge decision. It's also something all of us have considered at least once. Are you thinking about quitting your job? Before you make any rash decisions, you need to ask yourself a few very important questions.

The last thing you want to do is regret a major life move like quitting your job.

So, here are five things you should consider before quitting your job.

1. Have You Worked In That Job For Two Years?

What the heck is the two-year rule, and why does it matter? Well, typically, it takes a few months to train and get comfortable in a position. However, most people aren't just automatically great at their jobs. They need to take some time to hone their new skills and provide value to the company before they can market those new skills toward another job.

Developing new skills or building on current ones usually happens sometime during your first or second year at a job. Spending less than two years at a job could hurt your career and give employers the impression that you're a job hopper. But if the situation is dire, staying could be worse.

It's important to ask the following questions to better determine if quitting your job is the right career move for you.

2. Do You Have The Right Experience?

Have you built up enough experience so you can effectively market yourself for another role? You may need to stay a little longer so you can build that credibility and hone those skills. That way, you'll have a better shot of getting that job you really want.

On your resume, the best way to get a hiring manager's attention (and get your resume past the ATS) is to quantify your skills and accomplishments. So, ask yourself, "Can I quantify my work experience on my resume? Or have I not accomplished enough in my current role?"

If not, it's probably best for you to stay a bit longer at your job before quitting. Finish up that big project, or try to get as much experience as you can before the quarter ends.

3. Are You Overworked?

Are you feeling like things are getting a little out of control? Are you just burned out? If that's the case, you want to try to "reclaim" the job, as J.T. O'Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It DAILY, says. Look for assistance, tools, and resources so you can take more control over your job and tasks.

If being "overworked" is part of the workplace culture at your job, then it could be time to quit, especially if it's negatively affecting your mental health and you've tried to make changes but you still feel burned out at work. Just make sure you ask about workplace culture in your future job interviews so you don't accept a job offer at another company with the same overworking atmosphere.

4. Have You Tried To Energize The Role, Or Take It To The Next Level?

"Sometimes, we get bored," says O'Donnell. "We know the job like the back of our hand, it's easy, and we're looking for more of a challenge. So, you should be stepping up to the plate and asking for those responsibilities." Instead of quitting your job, it might be a good time to leverage the skills you've learned.

Before asking for a promotion, try asking your manager if there's anything you can take off their plate. Not only will this show initiative and make it easier for you to ask for a raise or promotion in the future, but it could help protect you from getting laid off.

If your company is laying off employees, your manager might be more likely to vouch for you to the higher-ups because if you're gone, your manager will have to go back to doing everything you took off their plate (and they don't want that).

5. Is There Something Else Going On?

Are you blaming work when it's really something going on in other areas of your life? Things like relationship issues or other challenges can cause extra stress. If you're blaming your job for that extra stress, quitting is probably not your best option because that stress is just going to carry over to the next job.

It's better to resolve the issues that are happening outside of work before you leave your job—if you decide that's still the right career move.

BONUS TIP: Be Careful

"If you choose to quit a job, don't do it without having another job lined up first," says O'Donnell.

According to O'Donnell, the average job search takes about nine months. That's a long time to be without work. And if you're looking for a management or executive position, it could take much longer.

Think it through and make smart choices. If it's time to quit, you know what to do!

After asking yourself these five questions, you should have a good idea of whether you should quit your job or stay put. Once you quit your job, there's no going back. Make sure you think long and hard about the decision and be strategic about your exit. Your career will thank you!

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 1 day 10 hours ago

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The Job Search Tip Introverts Hate (But Desperately Need)

No matter how talented, skilled, or educated you are, if you're an introvert, you're at a bit of a disadvantage in a job search. I am not an introvert, but I speak to a lot of them, coaching them through the process of getting a new job. The vast majority of them are amazing, highly qualified people who do their jobs extremely well—but they have a lot of trouble when it comes time to get hired.

There's one piece of advice I give that introverts almost universally step back from or even sneer at. Here's what it is…are you ready?

The job search is a sales process, and you need to "sell yourself" within that process.

What I've found is that job seekers with more reserved personalities aren't as interested in hearing this. They take a big step back from this kind of mindset because it comes with a need for more aggressiveness or assertiveness than they might be naturally comfortable with in a job search.

If you're an introvert, what kind of image pops up in your mind when you hear that? An overly aggressive used-car salesman? A pitchman on a TV infomercial? Put those thoughts out of your head. That isn't at all what I mean.

What I'm talking about is a guideline or a frame of reference you can use to take action that will get you hired. It does require you to step out of your comfort zone, but the rewards for making that effort are great. You have a greater chance of winding up in a job you love, rather than a job that appears in front of you that may not be the best fit. You will almost certainly get a job faster, which puts money in your pocket in terms of a paycheck. Months without earning a paycheck adds up to thousands of dollars in lost income.

How does "selling yourself" work in practical terms? In the big picture, you are the "product" (aka business-of-one), the hiring manager (your future boss) is the "customer," and your salary is the "purchase price." The psychological process of an employer choosing to hire you is the same as that of a customer choosing to buy a product. When you break that down, you see that:

1. Your resume is a marketing document (not a job history) that needs to reveal the benefits of the product using data-based evidence. That means using numbers, dollars, and percentages to describe your accomplishments.

2. Your social media profiles are advertising—like commercials or billboards that grab attention and generate interest in your product. (You must be on LinkedIn, but don't forget the power of other social media platforms.)

3. The interview is a sales call where you're talking to the customer about what your product can do for them. How can you benefit that company? What value do you bring? When you think of it this way, all of your interview answers become another way for you to show or describe what they'll get out of hiring you. This makes all your answers much more effective.

4. Also in the interview, you'll bring "sales materials" that are printed evidence of the benefits of your product. You'll bring a brag book that shows your past successes, as well as a 30-60-90 day plan that maps out what you will do for them in the future.

5. At the end of the interview, you act like a sales rep and close. This means that you ask for the business or the sale—the job. You say something like, “Based on what we've talked about so far, do you agree that I would be a good fit for this job?"

This question is a technique borrowed directly from sales pitches. Most introverts are intensely uncomfortable with the idea of closing. However, I think that the results you will get from it are worth stepping out of your comfort zone.

If you do feel uncomfortable, stop thinking of it as a sales technique. Think of it as good communication—because it is. You're simply asking, "Are we on the same page? Have I told you everything you need to know?" All of these steps are really about communicating more effectively with hiring managers.

Better communication is a goal worth chasing for all of us. If you're an introvert, coming at your job search with this mindset will help you get a better job.

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 2 days 6 hours ago

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The 4 Amazing Benefits Of A Mock Interview

Job interviews can be intimidating, especially if you're not prepared. There are a number of ways to prepare for a job interview, but one of the best ways to simulate the actual interview process is by doing a mock interview.

Mock interviews provide candidates with an opportunity to test out their job interview skills with someone who isn't evaluating them for an actual job.

If you're a college student, mock interviews may be offered through career services for students or recent alumni. If you're already in the professional world, a mock interview could be done with a trusted colleague, professional connection, or friend. Never do a mock interview with a family member.

Here are some of the major benefits of a mock interview.

1. They Help Reduce Stress And Anxiety About Interviewing

If you're not sure how to answer typical job interview questions, mock interviews provide a great opportunity for you to "test drive" your answers. The person conducting the mock job interview can give you feedback on whether or not your responses are suitable.

2. They Help Boost Your Confidence

Whoever is conducting the mock job interview can point out your strengths and weaknesses as the interview process goes along, which gives you time to address the weaknesses and build on your strengths. By having confidence in your skills, you will perform better during the actual job interview.

3. They Provide Constructive Feedback In A Low-Stress Environment

No one is the perfect candidate, so mock interviews help you clarify responses to certain questions and help you work on areas where you may have weaknesses. In an actual job interview, you don't usually get feedback about your interviewing abilities, so a mock interview is a perfect opportunity to find out why you may be having some difficulty in landing your dream job.

4. They Can Help You Prepare For Behavioral Interview Questions

Many companies use behavioral interview questions. If you're not familiar with this type of interviewing, it may be advantageous to give it a practice run in a mock interview.

Practice makes perfect! Even the best athletes struggle without practice, so you should never assume that you could just wing a job interview unprepared.

Take advantage of mock interviewing opportunities even if you think your skills are at a very high level. There are things that we can all improve upon when it comes to making a great impression on a prospective employer.

While mock interviews are an important part of preparing for an actual job interview, there are many other ways to practice when you're alone. This includes writing down and answering as many potential interview questions as you can think of and practicing your answers over and over again. When practicing alone, it also helps to visualize as much of the interview process as possible.

Mock interviews are an essential part of interview prep. Do a mock interview with a trusted colleague before your next job interview and reap the benefits above!

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 2 days 10 hours ago

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Why You Should Quit Trying To Make Your Resume ATS-Friendly

There's no such thing as an ATS-friendly resume. I'm going to dispel that myth right now. I do not want you wasting your time on scams that tell you they're going to make your resume ATS-friendly or that you're going to get past the ATS with their technique.

There are over a hundred different applicant tracking systems (ATS) and they all parse your resume in a different way. So the idea that any single resume can game the system for all 100 of these applicant tracking platforms is just not true. More importantly, so many people are using tools like ChatGPT to create fake resumes that companies are now trying to figure out who's a real human with real qualifications or someone who used fake systems to game the system. The technology is coming for them to be able to figure that out.

In fact, I think text-based resumes are going to die. We've hit a tipping point where they're going to die because so many people are trying to game the system with their resume to get it through an ATS. That whole concept is going to collapse on itself. I am talking to recruiters and companies who are pivoting toward something called evidence-based hiring. They're already doing it. Evidence-based hiring is when companies require you to prove to them (through evidence like quantified work experience, video resumes, etc.) that you know what you're talking about because they can't trust a resume or a text-based profile anymore.

Please don't waste your money on this idea of gaming the system to get you through to the hiring manager because even if you get through, if you then get a call and you can't back up what you're saying on this resume, they can tell, and then you're going to be blacklisted and banned from getting hired at the company.

Right now, though, employers still want text-based resumes. So, what do you do instead of trying to make your resume ATS-friendly?

A Skimmable Resume Will Get You Job Interviews

You need a skimmable resume. A skimmable resume is a resume with a simplified layout that quickly lets a recruiter skim through (in six seconds or less!) and see that you meet the basic requirements for the job that they were told to look for in a candidate.

The reason you build a six-second resume and make it skimmable is that when they see you're qualified, they will also think, "I need more information. There's not enough information on this resume. I should schedule an interview with this job candidate to learn more about their qualifications."

You want to think of your resume as teaser copy. You don't want to tell them everything you've ever done. You don't want to have an epic novel resume. By doing those two things, you actually make it easier for them to screen you out of the hiring process.

A simple, skimmable resume with just the facts can get employers to call you. Also if you want to beat the competition for the positions you're applying for, instead of sending your resume through an ATS, you should try a strategy called back-channeling where you send this skimmable resume directly to the recruiter or the hiring manager so it actually gets looked at and you get more job interviews.

If you want to learn how to do that for free, sign up for a Work It DAILY membership today. Let's get you the job you want and deserve.

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 3 days 8 hours ago

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Dread Going To Work? How To Deal With The Feeling

You dread going to work. Every morning is the same: You have to drag yourself out of bed. It's not that the body is weak. It's that the mind is not willing. Most of us know that. Many people have felt this way at least once in their careers. Is there a way to overcome the dread of going to work every day?

I am not sure if I have the absolute solution, but these are some of the strategies I have personally tried in my years of experience.

What Should You Do When You Dread Going To Work?

If you dread going to work, do these four things:

  1. Don't dwell.
  2. Locate the source of your dread.
  3. Seek not perfection.
  4. Think of work as a pedagogue.
Is It Normal To Dread Working?

Yes, it's completely normal to dread going to work. If you wake up and can't bear the thought of working, take a mental health day. If the feeling lasts for days, weeks, or even months, that may be a sign that it's time to look for a new job.

Before you decide to quit your job and find a new one, try doing these four things...

Don't Dwell

Do not let the Monday blues or the "dread going to work" syndrome become your dominant thought. Yes, I know it is easier said than done. But you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is your thought process.

The more you think about how much you dread work, the deeper you will dwell on that feeling. Stop thinking about it. Take that thought out and focus your thoughts on something else.

Locate The Source Of Your Dread

Find out the source of your dread. Otherwise, you will not be able to tackle it. Do not complain if you do not know what you are complaining about.

Why do you dread going to work? Is it because of your co-workers, your boss, your routine work, your pay, or the commute?

Write all the reasons down and see if you can tackle them. I am sure resignation has crossed your mind. But before you do that, let's see if there is a way to alleviate your feelings of dread. We cannot expect life to be perfect, or work to be perfect, for that matter.

Seek Not Perfection

As I stated above, life is not perfect. Why should work be? Accept that things being imperfect is how things work. If you expect perfect colleagues, perfect bosses, perfect resources, or perfect processes, then you are in for a shock.

There can never be a perfect system, perfect factory, and perfect office wherever you work. Because, trust me, no matter how high your pay is, it can always be higher; no matter how good your colleagues are, they can always be better; and no matter how understanding your boss is, he or she can always be better.

Seek not perfection if you do not want to dread going to work. Seek adaptation—adaptation from yourself. What can you do to make the work environment better?

Think Of Work As A Pedagogue

Ever think that the process of work can also teach us something about life? Think of work as a pedagogue.

It teaches us that we do not always have things our way and that life can sometimes mean having to do things we do not like or even enjoy. But it's only temporary, and we have a choice of doing something about it.

Use this experience of dreading work as your teacher. What does it teach you? Ask and answer, and you will immediately see this experience in a different light.

There is something you can do about the feeling of dread you get when thinking about work. Do not fear it. Sit down calmly and have an action plan to tackle it. When you start working on a plan to diffuse it, you will feel better—even if the plan does not work in the long term.

Remember: Every job is temporary! You'll get through this rough patch in your career soon.

We know most people don't enjoy going to work, especially if they're feeling lost, trapped, or burned out in their career. If you're struggling to find a job that you like, we can help.

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 6 days 7 hours ago

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7 Ways To Prepare For A Phone Interview

If you're like most people, you either (a) hate phone interviews or (b) don't take them as seriously as face-to-face interviews. The truth is that phone interviews are incredibly important because if you don't do well, you'll never get the chance to interview in person.

With the right preparation, you can learn to hate them a little less and practically guarantee yourself an invitation to an in-person interview. These seven phone interview tips will help you prepare for (and ace!) any phone interview.

1. Set Up The Phone Interview At A Time That Works For You

You often have choices about when to schedule your call. It only makes sense to schedule it when you're most alert. If you're a morning person, schedule it early. If it takes you a good few hours to become your best, schedule it for the afternoon. If they call you and it isn't a good time for you, let them know that it isn't the best time (no need to tell them why) and ask to reschedule. Just don't wait too long to make that happen.

Hint: Make sure that when you do set your phone interview up, you leave yourself a cushion of time after the call, in case it goes especially well and runs long. Some phone interviews stick with a time limit of 10-15 minutes, but others last 30-45 minutes or longer.

2. Pick A Quiet Spot To Talk

There's nothing like being on the phone in a noisy public place to signal that you aren't taking this call seriously. Instead, do the phone interview at home, in a room by yourself. You want no distractions.

3. If You Can, Use A Landline For Your Interview

Bad reception can ruin your call. Play it safe and use a landline, if possible.

4. Research The Company

Some job seekers think phone interviews are basic information sessions, but you'll make a much stronger impression if you already know everything you can about the company before your call. You'll ask better questions and give more impressive answers to their questions.

5. Dress For The Interview

It's easy to be tempted to stay in your pajamas for this call, but it's better to wear work clothes. Clothes do affect how we behave and you need to be all business.

6. Make Sure You're Physically Comfortable & Relaxed

Eat, drink, take a bathroom break, and take a few moments to breathe and relax before your call.

7. Prepare 'Cheat Sheets'

Since the hiring manager can't see you, this is the perfect opportunity to have a printed-out resume, notes on the company, questions you want to ask, and words and phrases you want to use in your phone interview answers out in front of you. This is one of the few advantages of a phone interview, so make the most of it. Just spread them out in front of you so they can't hear you shuffling papers. Make sure you also have blank paper with a pen to take notes.

It's important to do as much interview prep as you can. You will never get another chance to make a first impression with this company. How you do now will affect whether or not you get the face-to-face interview, and it can bias them to like you even more before you set foot on site.

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 1 week ago

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How To Follow Up On Your Resume

You sent out the resume. You think you're a perfect fit. And yet no one calls. Sound familiar?

In fact, the majority of candidates today do not receive a response on a submitted resume. So, the big question is, “When is it appropriate to follow up with an employer on my submission and how do I do it?"

There is no answer that will fit every scenario, but there are some good rules you should follow when following up on your resume submission.

1. Use The 1-2 Week Rule

Hiring managers and recruiters are busy and they can't acknowledge every resume and cover letter, even if they wanted to, because there's just so much that they need to process.

It's best to follow up one to two weeks after you have submitted your resume. That is generally the amount of time most employers take to review all applicants and contact candidates of interest for an interview.

2. Follow Up In The Morning

This may not always be universal, but in many cases, if you make contact during the early morning you'll have a better chance of reaching someone before they are bogged down with other tasks to do for the day.

Also, never follow up on a Monday. It's common for people to have a case of the "Monday Blues," which could make them more likely to ignore your email or say "no" to an interview more quickly.

So, you should absolutely follow up on your resume in the morning—just not on a Monday morning.

3. Be Proactive And Polite 

Whether you're reaching out to the hiring manager by email or LinkedIn connection, it's important to be professional and not overzealous. Keep the message simple:

"Hi, XYZ. We haven't met, but I applied for the XYZ position and I just wanted to be proactive and see if there's anything that I could do to further my candidacy or check on the status of my application. Thank you for your time."

This simple note at least gets you on the hiring manager's radar.

It could be that they've been meaning to get back to you and this note will get them to respond. It's also possible that they looked past your application and your note got them to take a second look. Either way, it's worthwhile to always follow up.

Follow these tips the next time you want to follow up on a resume submission. Following up the right way can get you the interview you deserve.

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 1 week 1 day ago

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Interview Questions When Transitioning From Academia To Industry

Is your career experience in academia, but you’re ready to move to business? If you’re a teacher, a professor, a scientist, or a lab tech, employers can see a move to business or industry as a pretty big leap.

They may have some perceptions about academic types that will bias them against you, and they will want to know why you want such a dramatic career change. What will you say?

This answer is a wonderful opportunity to present yourself as a great fit for business by talking about your drive, ambition, and enthusiasm, and turn any bias from a negative to a positive. Here are a few examples of potential answers and corresponding questions:

Interview Question: "Why do you want to move from academia (or the lab) to industry?"

“I’m ready to move now because I want to be more directly rewarded for the things I do. In academics, I can put in a lot of hours of quality work and still never be recognized or paid any more than someone else who doesn’t put in the effort that I do. In a business role, I feel that the harder I work and the more that I do, the more I will be rewarded by the company I work for, both financially and professionally. I expect that I would be given the opportunity to grow and take on more responsibility, which will eventually reward me even more.”

Interview Question: "When you say 'reward,' what will you be talking about?"

You will want to talk about what’s important to you: money (salary or bonuses), recognition, appreciation, or increasing authority and responsibility. Your answer will depend on your situation and your motivation. This answer gives a reasonable explanation that makes sense to employers. It’s natural to want to see a benefit from all your hard work.

An alternative answer could speak to your desire to work in a practical way as opposed to a theoretical one, so you can feel that you make more of a difference, or experience the end result of your work.

Whatever answer you give, keep this big picture in mind: You need to show them why you are running TO this job, rather than AWAY from your old one. Talking about all the reasons why you want out of academia or the lab is a negative way to approach this explanation, and it won’t do you any favors in the interview because it will make you seem negative, whether you actually are or not.

Focus your explanation on why you want to move forward into business and how excited you are about that. It’s positive, and it keeps the conversation and the interviewer focused on your great qualities and your fit for the job.

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 1 week 1 day ago

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7 Unexpected Sources For Job Leads

If you’ve been job hunting for a long time, you’ve probably hit the online listings and maybe asked around your network. However, there are a few places you may not be thinking of that could be the source of the perfect job for you.

Previous Bosses When you’re in a job search, the smart move is to call every boss you’ve ever had. They probably won’t have a job for you, but they may have some great job leads. They know you, they know your work, and their network probably has a few names in it at a higher level than what you have access to. Their recommendation to some of those names might carry some helpful weight for you. If you haven’t kept a good relationship with your past bosses, now is a good time to mend those fences. If you’re not sure, chances are they would be fine hearing from you and happy to help. Previous Co-Workers

Hopefully, the people you’ve worked with in the past are on your current networking list. If not, add them now. Don’t just include people you directly worked with. Also think about who may have been in adjacent departments, support departments, other divisions, and so on. People in your career space will naturally hear about relevant job leads and can pass them on to you. If you’ve lost touch, try looking for them on LinkedIn.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Companies You’ve Interviewed With Before

If you interviewed with a company in the past, there was something about you they liked—even if they didn’t choose to hire you for that one position. If you contact them now, they may have a job that’s a better fit, or they may be ready to hire you. If they don’t have a spot, they might know someone who does. If you interviewed with them, you’ll still have the contact information for the hiring manager there and maybe others. Use it to reach out now.


You probably won’t find a job lead on YouTube, but you could generate one. Create and post a video resume, or create a video showcasing your skills or knowledge as a subject matter expert. Make sure your video is good quality because it will reflect on you. Everything you put online contributes to your personal brand and makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find you.


Fewer companies these days post jobs in the classifieds, and fewer people read them. But some do post jobs, and you may have less competition for those jobs because readership has declined. What’s more important for you is the actual news. Keep your eyes peeled for headlines relating to companies in your space. Look for who’s expanding with new projects or acquisitions—that’s a clue that they’re probably also hiring.

Business newspaper article Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

Alumni Organizations

If you haven’t been active in your college alumni organization, now is the time to start. Many colleges have alumni groups in cities all over the country, and the people in them are loyal and ready to promote fellow alumni. Go to functions and talk to people. You never know who will be there, and where that relationship may lead.

Career Coaching

A career coach (not a life coach) can be a great path to a new job. Someone with knowledge of your field who can look at your resume, evaluate your interview performance, and show you how to best sell yourself in the job search can be a huge help to you.

Find out more about career coaching and what it can do for you.

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 1 week 1 day ago

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How To Answer The "Tell Me About A Time When" Interview Questions

There are hundreds of questions interviewers can ask potential employees, but there's one interview question you could be answering in a way that is costing you the job—and you don't even know it!

So, what's this one question? It's different for every person—and every position. But one thing about this question is the same. It starts out like this: "Do you have experience doing... (insert whatever responsibility, duty, etc. the employer is looking to find in someone)?"

Employers want to know you have the experience and the ability to perform the essential functions of the job. And you can usually tell where their biggest “hurts" are by the questions they ask during the interview. If they need someone with special expertise or experience in a given area, they're going to make sure they ask you about that experience.

So, how do you answer this all-important interview question in the best way possible?

"Tell Me About A Time When..."

The first way you can respond to the "experience question" is to use an example from your past experience about a time when you did XYZ—and, of course, the successful turnout that resulted.

"Tell me about a time when..." is a behavioral interview question. These types of questions require more than a "yes" or "no" answer. That's why you need to go into detail and tell a "story" in your explanation. At Work It DAILY, we coach everyone to use the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model when answering behavioral interview questions since it's the most effective way to come up with answers that give the employer exactly what they want to hear.

Having the experience and using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to talk about it is the best-case scenario when answering the "experience question." (Makes sense, right?)

But what do you do if you don't have the experience they're asking about? Then how do you answer?

Tell Them You're Confident

Just because you've never done something doesn't mean you can't do it. And it surely doesn't mean you can't excel at it.

If you're asked a question about prior experience regarding something you've never done, the best way to answer isn't to say “No, I've never done that," or “No, I don't have experience in that area." The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines:

"While I have not had any direct experience in XYZ, I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could (do, manage, direct, handle, etc.) XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations."

An effective way to enhance your previous confident response would be to share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about—using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to structure your answer.

However, no matter how you approach the question, be sure to emphasize that you're confident you can do whatever it is they're asking you about, and provide examples as to why you feel that way. It makes a potential employer feel better to know that you're confident in your abilities and talents—and it's also a far better alternative than just telling them, “No, I don't know how to do that," and possibly excluding yourself from consideration.

As we mentioned earlier, just because you haven't done something previously doesn't mean you can't do it, or never will be able to. And who knows? With time, you may even do it very well!

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 1 week 2 days ago

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Interview Cheat Sheet: 8 Tips For A Flawless Interview

Got an interview coming up soon? We know you have a busy life, and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to scan through articles to get the information you need. That’s why we created the Interview Cheat Sheet! We pulled the best tips, tricks, and advice from our archives and put them all in one place just for you.

Here are eight solid interview tips from our experts.

Interview Preparation

When you're preparing for your interview, you need to make sure you cover all of your bases. Here are some tips on what to say to a potential employer:

1. Stay away from superlatives.

Keep it singular. Superlatives such as “weakest," “worst,” or “biggest” indicate the greatest degree of whatever is it describing. “Biggest weakness” is the weakness of the highest degree implying there are other weaknesses of varying degrees but weaknesses nonetheless. That begs the question: “What are some others?” Likewise, “need most to improve” implies there are other areas for improvement. In any case, try this as an alternative, “If I had to come up with one…” (No negatives, no multiples.)

(Original article: 4 Tips To Answer Tough Interview Questions Correctly)

2. Be prepared with questions for the employer.

Each interview takes on a different format, but somewhere along the way, an employer will likely ask if you have any questions. Even if the interview was packed with information, always have questions prepared to ask the employer that have not been touched on or that you can benefit from by having more information.

Asking questions expresses to an employer that you are serious and sincerely interested in the company and position. Asking the “right” questions can also help solidify a positive impression. For instance, if you have done the proper research on the company before the interview, you may have knowledge of developments happening at the company or within the industry that may have an impact on the job you applied for. Asking questions that express you are thinking ahead about the job and how certain developments may impact the business demonstrates to an employer that you are a “smart” candidate. You are already thinking like you belong in the position and looking ahead at how to address possible challenges. These types of questions can also help the employer see how you fit right in.

(Original article: Information You Must Have Before Your Interview)

3. Show them you did your homework.

One great way to build your interviewing confidence is by conducting plenty of research on the company you’re applying to and the position it’s offering. A common question interviewers ask is, “Do you know anything about our company?” Most times, candidates are forced to answer, “No.” If you’re able to share the company’s background information and showcase knowledge of its future goals for the position in question, you’ll undoubtedly catch the interviewer off guard—in a great way!

(Original article: 3 Ways To Build Confidence For A Job Interview)

Interview Questions

Being prepared to answer any question that comes out of the interviewer's mouth is a big advantage in interviews. Here are some questions to go over before your next interview:

1. "How do you handle stress?"

Interviewers are generally looking for an answer that indicates you can handle multiple priorities and projects at the same time. An answer stating that stress is a natural part of life and that you feel equipped to handle the challenges of the job and balance them with the rest of your life may just be the answer that earns you the job.

(Original article: How To Handle Tough Interview Questions)

2. “Tell me about yourself.”

What the hiring manager is really asking: “How do your education, work history, and professional aspirations relate to the open job?”

How to respond: Select key work and education information that shows the hiring manager why you are a perfect fit for the job and the company. For example, a recent grad might say something like, “I went to X University where I majored in Y and completed an internship at Z Company. During my internship, I did this and that (name achievements that match the job description), which really solidified my passion for this line of work.”

(Original article: How To Answer 7 Of The Most Common Interview Questions)

3. "Tell me about a time when you did ______."

Just because you've never done something doesn't mean you can't do it. And it surely doesn't mean you can't excel at it. If you're asked a question about prior experience regarding something you've never done, the best way to answer isn't to say “No, I've never done that," or “No, I don't have experience in that area." The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines: "While I have not had any direct experience in XYZ, I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could (do, manage, direct, handle, etc.) XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations."

An effective way to enhance your previous confident response would be to share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about—using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to structure your answer. However, no matter how you approach the question, be sure to emphasize that you're confident you can do whatever it is they're asking you about, and provide examples as to why you feel that way.

(Original article: How To Answer The "Tell Me About A Time When" Interview Questions)

Post-Interview Protocol

Even after the interview is over, you need to go the extra mile to impress the employer. Here are some post-interview tips:

1. Follow up with a thank-you note.

Send thank-you notes to all the individuals with whom you had a conversation. Do not send one note to just the hiring manager. You will miss out on all the other contacts that you made. Even a note to the receptionist/office manager is appropriate and helpful but only if you had more of a conversation, not just a “hello.” Make the notes unique to each individual based on the conversation you had with them. Remind them of the conversation you had. Also, in each thank-you note, remind the contact why you bring value to the company/team/position and show your enthusiasm.

As the hiring process progresses or slows, stay in touch with your contacts as appropriate. If the process has slowed, begin to follow up about every two business weeks. Too soon and it will be considered overkill. Much later than two weeks and you’ll be forgotten.

(Original article: How To Correctly Follow Up After An Interview)

2. Use the three-paragraph rule.

Your follow-up email should be short, sweet, and personalized. Generally, a good rule of thumb for the length is three paragraphs, with no more than two or three sentences in each paragraph.

First paragraph: Briefly thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.

Second paragraph: Discuss a couple of your strengths and how the company would benefit if you were hired. Consider using bullet points to break up your text.

Third paragraph: Include any points of clarification you might have. Include answers to questions that you weren’t able to answer during the interview, or add new info about yourself that was left out of the interview.

But remember, keep it brief. Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, suggests indicating your next point of contact by saying something along the lines of, “Look forward to hearing from you within the next two weeks.” If no date was set at the interview, either ask for one or specify you will loop back to them for a decision in two weeks.

(Original article: 5 Tips For Following Up After A Job Interview)

We know how difficult it can be to ace a job interview. We hope our Interview Cheat Sheet helps you prepare for your next one so you can stand out to the hiring manager and land the job.

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 1 week 2 days ago

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My Secret Hack To Impress Recruiters & Hiring Managers In Job Interviews

Over the last two months, I've been teaching this hack to my job-seeking clients as a way for them to blow away recruiters and hiring managers right before the job interview, and it's so easy for you to do.

There's a lot of competition out there to land jobs, and if you're lucky enough to get a job interview, you want to do things to set yourself apart without acting desperate or overdoing it. This technique has been working every single time for my clients, so here's what you're going to do...

Create A Table

Once your interview is set up, grab the job description and create a table. In the first column of the table, list every single requirement mentioned in the job description. If it says five years of experience, that's one. If it says demonstrate the ability to do communicate effectively, that's another one. If it says you need a bachelor's degree, that's another one. Whatever they list in the job description, whatever the requirements are for the job, list those in the first column.

Then, in the second column, summarize in one sentence and quantify (using numbers if you can) that you have that experience. So if the job description is asking for five years of experience, but you have seven years, put seven years of experience in that second column. It's just a simple sentence that quantifies and summarizes if you have that skill set and meet or exceed that requirement.

When you're done, you're going to have a table that demonstrates you're a match for every requirement they have for the job. You're able to quantify that you're qualified.

Next, go through the document, and any place where you exceed the requirement that they asked for, highlight it in green. So now they're going to see that not only are you a match for the job because you've got something for every requirement, but with the green, it means you're exceeding expectations.

Save that document as a PDF and send it to the recruiter or hiring manager when you're confirming the interview. Here's an example of what your message should look like:

"Hey, I'm really looking forward to the interview on Tuesday. I took the liberty of breaking down the job description and matching my experience to it. I know you have my resume but I thought this might be easier."

This is what a recruiter or hiring manager has to do when they're interviewing you. They're trying to inventory you against the job description, and if you're reading a wordy job description and then a wordy resume, it's very hard to do that. When you take the extra step to match it all up in this nice little document and even highlight where you exceed the expectations—mindblown every single time.

Now, here's the bonus part. When you do this exercise and receive a job offer at the end of the interview process and decide you want to negotiate your salary, you already have the tools to do the salary negotiation. You're going to be able to update this document after going through the interview process and say to them:

"While I was interviewing with you, in addition to all the things you asked for in the job description, you also wanted these things. So I added those to this document and here's how I match that. So based on that, I was really hoping to make X. Would you be able to offer me a higher rate?"

Give them a number. You have your evidence. You have this document that shows what a great fit you are that you've been keeping track of throughout the interview process. It's amazing because you're just having a calm conversation around the facts. It helps my clients feel more relaxed, especially when I coach them on how to present this.

Most people won't bother to create a table before their interviews, which is your competitive advantage, my friend. That's where you can stand out. Try this technique and see how much it impresses recruiters and hiring managers.

Good luck, and go get 'em!

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 1 week 3 days ago

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7 Reasons Why You’re MISERABLE At Work (And How You Can Fix It)

Do you wake up on Sunday morning already dreading going into work the next day? Does the thought of walking into the office make you sick to your stomach? Does your unhappiness at work seep into your personal life?

It's time for a change.

The first thing you need to do is identify the problem. Here are some reasons why you're miserable at work (and some tips for finding happiness again!).

1. You're Not Challenged Enough 

When you're not challenged at work, you become bored, disengaged, and even complacent. This can result in resenting your role over time.

If you feel like you're not living up to your full potential, manage up and find new projects to tackle. Take on new assignments, present new ideas, and volunteer for more opportunities. Be proactive in finding new challenges.

2. You Feel Overwhelmed With Your Workload

On the flip side, if you're miserable at work, you might simply be overwhelmed. This can result in excessive stress, anxiety, and irritability.

If you feel like there's not enough time in the day to complete all of your work, think about how you can manage your time and tasks better. Take an online course, watch a free webinar, or read expert articles on good time management practices. Sometimes all you need is to organize yourself better.

Also, learn how to say "no." Packing on unnecessary work will burn you out and make things worse.

If you still find yourself overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to have a tactful conversation with your manager. Explain that you've taken steps to increase your efficiency in your role, but still find yourself extremely overwhelmed with the amount of work you're required to do and you're worried you'll eventually become burned out. You might be able to work together to find a solution that works for both of you.

3. You Haven't Upskilled Yet

Feeling like you're not as on top of things as you used to be? Does it seem like all of your co-workers are getting promotions and raises except for you?

If you feel like you're falling behind, it might be time to upskill.

It's important to constantly stay relevant in your career and keep up with your industry. Think of it this way: A company is a wheel that's always moving forward. The employees of that company are the spokes on the wheel. When the wheel moves forward, the spokes change position, moving around from top to bottom repeatedly.

If you're not moving forward with the company by upskilling and staying on top of industry trends, you'll find yourself at the bottom of the wheel, miserable and vulnerable. It's your job to keep moving forward with that company and keep pushing to be the top spoke on the wheel.

4. You're Not Working On Projects That Energize You

We all have to do things we don't necessarily like or enjoy once in a while. You might hate talking on the phone, but your job might require you to hop on a call with a client every so often. That's just life. Plus, it's important to push your boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, and see what you can accomplish.

However, if you're not spending the majority of your time working on projects that energize you, it can be draining. So, if you love building websites and you're spending 90% of your time on the phone with clients, you probably won't feel very satisfied at work.

If this sounds like you, think about ways you can manage up and make your role more focused on the projects you love doing. Think about new projects, present them to your manager, and volunteer to do them. If you can prove the value of doing these projects, you might just find yourself in a customized role.

However, if there's no room for improvement here, you might want to consider finding a new job. Life's too short to spend your time doing things you hate!

WARNING: Before you hand in your two weeks' notice, make sure you consider these things first.

5. Your Work Environment Doesn't Work With Your Personality

You might not realize it, but your work environment might be affecting your happiness. If you have an introverted personality, working in a loud, open area might be distracting and mentally exhausting for you, which can negatively impact your performance.

On the flip side, if you thrive off of collaborating and connecting with others, working in a quieter atmosphere might set back your creativity and energy.

When you're working in an environment that consistently makes you uncomfortable, you're unproductive. And when you're unproductive, you're unsatisfied. This is why it's so important to understand your workplace personas and interaction styles and do your research on the company so you know what kind of work environment to expect. Even if you work remotely, make sure your work environment is having a positive effect on your mental health and productivity.

6. You Don't Have Friends At Work

If you have a full-time role, you're likely averaging 40 hours a week on the clock. That's a lot of time. If you spend all of that time in isolation without any real social interaction or work friendships, it can lead to loneliness and even depression, which can hinder your work performance.

Make an effort to build personal relationships at work. Be warm and welcoming, and make an effort to strike up conversations in the break room. Invite people to join you for lunch or to grab drinks after work. Ask about their weekend, find common interests, or simply start by talking about what's happening at work.

7. Your Work Environment Is Toxic

If you're in a toxic work environment, it can impact both your personal happiness and work performance. Evaluate what's happening at work. Is there excessive office gossip? Do you have a bad relationship with your manager? Are people stabbing co-workers in the back in order to keep their jobs? Are others treating you, or someone else, inappropriately?

These are only a few signs of a toxic work environment, and all of them can be reasons why you're miserable at work. If any of this sounds like your current workplace, first try to address it with the main offender(s) in private. If it's affecting your work performance, you need to make that clear. They might not be aware of how their behavior is affecting others.

If the issue persists, mention it to management. And if it still continues, you might want to consider looking for a new job elsewhere.

Life is too short to be miserable at work. Don't wait another year to be happy! Evaluate your situation and take steps to improve it today.

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6 Ways To Show Your Network Some Love

In order to build a strong, strategic network, you need to nurture your connections. You need to show them some love. The best way to do that is to regularly offer value to your network.

Instead of going in with the attitude of "How can you help me?" you need to approach networking with the mindset of "How can we help each other?" You need to constantly think about how you can support your contacts.

But, how can you do that? How are you going to prove that you're an awesome addition to their network?

While it's tempting to fall back on the old line, "Let me know how I can help you," it's not always an effective way to offer your support to someone. Why? Because if someone doesn't know how you can help them, they're not going to ask. Or they're going to ask you for something you might not be able to offer.

Instead, give them something to work with by being specific about what you can realistically offer them. Understand what they need in order to achieve their goals and then ask yourself, "How can I help this person reach his or her goals? What support, resources, or opportunities can I offer them?"

Don't worry—nurturing your network doesn't have to be a huge hassle on your end. Here are some easy ways you can offer value to your connections.

1. Job It Forward

As you're job searching, chances are you'll see a lot of great jobs out there that simply aren't a good fit for you. However, they could be perfect for someone else in your network.

If you see a job opening, share it with someone in your network you think might be a good fit. You can send a private message with a link to the opening, or you can just post the opening in your LinkedIn feed for people to see.

Not actively looking for a job? You can still share job openings or cool companies you see with your network. So, be on the lookout!

2. Share An Article

Sharing an article or video is a great way to start a conversation and/or keep in touch with a contact. Consider this person's industry, interests, and special projects, then share something that's relevant to them. What can you find on their LinkedIn profile? What have you learned about them in your conversations?

Send your contact a message with the link to the resource and a little bit of context. You could say something like, "I saw this article and thought you might find it interesting, particularly the part about ____ because you're involved in ____. Enjoy!"

3. Share THEIR Content With YOUR Network

Another easy way to offer value to your connections is to share their content with your network. If you found a blog post from one of your connections interesting, share it with your network by posting it to your LinkedIn feed with a brief blurb.

Don't forget to tag the author with the @ feature so they know you're sharing it!

4. Make An Introduction

Be a super connector! Look at your network and see which connections could benefit from knowing each other. Then, make an introduction. Make sure you give a little background on each person and briefly explain how they can benefit from knowing each other.

Here's an example:

"I noticed you're looking to break into the entertainment industry. I'd love to introduce you to Jody Smith. She works as a talent agent out in L.A. and I'm sure she'd be a valuable addition to your network. Would you be interested in getting an introduction?"

5. Endorse Their Skills

If you know someone in your network is an exceptional digital marketer, endorse them for that skill on LinkedIn!

Your endorsement will reinforce the skills listed on their profile, which is a huge value-add to them. It gives that third-party credibility factor that employers and recruiters are looking for on LinkedIn profiles. Best part? It takes two seconds!

6. Write Them Recommendations

Recommendations are like testimonials on your LinkedIn profile. A good one is worth its weight in gold.

If you've worked with a contact in the past and/or know they have certain skill sets or character traits, write them a recommendation. Your connections will appreciate this gesture greatly, and may even write you one in return! This takes a little more time and thought, but it's worth much more to connections than endorsements.

So there you have it. Effective networking doesn't have to be a hassle! Spend a little time each day nurturing your network. If you make this a habit, you'll find yourself with a strong network in no time!

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4 Problems Inside The TV and Film Industry

Why is the entertainment industry so broken? Many people are asking that question as more of Hollywood’s unseen creative and business talent are leaving L.A., unable to support themselves in an industry that was once rewarding and profitable for decades.

There’s no leadership for the people who support this exceptional industry—except in one golden category: profits. Consumers are able to enjoy great shows from a multitude of places outside conventional television and yet those who create this great content are hurting and hurting badly. Tech has successfully entered the delivery space, adding another layer of revenue. All that new profit should result in revived production and vis-à-vis a financial boost for the creative community. Instead, they languish.

How could we begin the process of encouraging parts of this industry to do better?

There are many places to start; here are just four. Create vibrant funding events with financing forums, revive self-distribution utilizing AI, reclaim film festivals for the non-Cannes crowd, and, finally, tackle the biggest problem of all: bad deals. It's time to remake our industry for the people working in it. Tech isn’t the problem. Greed is.

Problem One

Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD) just paid $15 million for Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story. The Pigeon Tunnel was bought by Apple TV for $10 million. These are amazing sums for documentaries. By comparison, the craft services expense on studio-financed feature films rivals this amount. While the thin-crust sales agents help to facilitate these incredible sales, the remaining table scraps (licensing fees) for new non-fiction content paid by WBD and Disney will be fought over by everyone else. Like other Hollywood creators, many non-fiction filmmakers will be blinded by these huge numbers and never see anything beyond five-figure deals for their finished work. It's not that their films aren’t good; in fact, they are. There just isn't room for everyone at the top.

There’s a fix to this, so stay with me.

A few years ago I attended several co-financing forums outside the U.S. They basically all had the same setup: The event took place inside an ornate historic building with an amazingly long table of dark polished wood. Pulled up around this table were forty-plus high-backed leather chairs. In those seats were some of the world’s largest and most influential broadcasters. Seating for a couple hundred observers was booked months in advance. The forums I attended were in Toronto and Amsterdam. There are others. Over two days, content creators pitched in a live format of 30 minutes each. They showcased a few minutes of tape, presented a solid pitch, and then the assembled group of commissioning editors discussed or argued each pitch. If it lined up with the editorial theme of their channel, they committed to licensing the program for their territory, right then, in the room, in front of an audience. It was beautiful watching a compelling pitch and having the world’s decision-makers debate the merits of a concept, then together fund an entire production. There was joy in the room. To be fair, not all that pitched were funded, but many were.

We duplicated this event inside WESTDOC (a conference I co-founded), calling it Pitchfest. Creators and producers from all around the U.S. understood there was value in this format. Many that were pitched got funded and today some have had good lives in the broadcast, theatrical, and streaming markets.

It took the decision-making to the decision-makers. The producers didn’t have to slog through the double-speak of self-interested agents or navigate the labyrinth of junior-level executives who have the ability to say “no” but lack the authority to say “yes.” An annual U.S. event like this would actually support our talented creative community who truly possess great ideas and skills.

The combined $25 million spent on Super/Man and The Pigeon Tunnel could have funded 50 documentaries, 50 films that could have a larger effect than these two ever will. We’re overlooking a part of this industry, a community that rarely meets the executives at these companies. They can still buy high-end films at Sundance and Cannes, but at the same time, set aside $25 million for films that need attention, that need money, that need...hope. Assemble this new annual festival, subtract out the agents, those “dealmakers,” and gather the creators to pitch at this big event. If it’s a good pitch and a capable producer, fund it. We can stock some knowledgeable entertainment attorneys nearby to service the indie producers to make responsible deals.

Make the excitement from investing in a dedicated community that can supply excellent programming that isn’t washed in the Kardashian model of junk television. Let’s see stories that inspire us, educate us, and rise into a future where facts and stories underline everything. Let’s make people care for well-researched and well-executed content that was funded not because their Sundance PR strategy worked well, but because the current funding model is broken, really broken and we need a remedy. Enough of choking off great films by killing the incentive by underfunding them. They have the money; put it to good use and let’s have films that matter. We now have streaming behemoths with more money than they know what to do with. When the automotive and oil companies made huge historic profits, it was PBS who peeled away money to give back to the public by providing stand-out programs for all the country to enjoy. It’s time to invest in future talent. Now, let’s get serious about it.

Problem Two

There needs to be a better model of success for the self-distribution of independent documentaries. I know a place. YouTube.

Hear me out.

YouTube (YT) is crushing its retained audience, and we should be learning how to harness it. It makes sense, a desktop library of everything for everyone. History, finance, astronomy, social issues, mechanical wonders, travel, how-to, science, movies—everything. Mix this global platform for content discovery with an AI-driven marketing plan and you’ve got a self-reliant income stream. Is it here now? Not yet, but it's coming.

A little background. After being brutalized by pathetic licensing fees from the standard broadcast, cable, and even streaming channels, content makers (aka producers) need to find other forms of revenue generation. It's time to revisit self-distribution with a proven framework. It once existed in DVD and VHS for titles of all shapes and sizes. Somewhere along the digital superhighway, self-distribution got lost. The once popular “do-it-yourself” style framework needs to be dusted off, reformed, and handed back to the creative community. Yes, finished programming can be uploaded and listed on YouTube and Amazon, but it's promptly lost in an ocean of content. We need something better, something smarter. AI holds valuable strategies, if the right questions are asked of it.

YouTube is consistent in its draw—a diverse and delightful ocean of programming in all shapes and sizes, designed for...everyone. Here’s the problem: It’s not the first platform filmmakers use for sincere monetization because there’s no roadmap to success. YouTube also isn’t the first place an audience looks to rent content. It exists, but it isn’t popular compared to other digital storefronts. Yes, potential viewers can be pushed over to a paywall platform, but that’s not smooth either. Where YouTube flexes is the ad-revenue framework. Its fractional earnings are good for influencers and those YT personalities who post short-form content weekly, but bad for filmmakers with a limited inventory of marque long-form titles. Think of the last time you looked at a feature film clip of The Godfather or a James Bond installment. Likely it was in HD or 4K. By the end of the clip, they were pointing you to rent or buy the full program from another platform. While indie documentaries and non-dramatic films don’t have the cache of a mainstream big-budget theatrical release, they do have an opportunity to capture a specific audience in simple pre-roll, commercial-like marketing, just like other media products.

There are more than 5 billion views on YT every day. In the way cars, energy foods, cruises, and food delivery services are pre-rolled before core content is enjoyed, it’s time to sell indie films the same way. Sell films…like a commercial…to hook your tribe of viewers. It's in your wheelhouse to create a compelling trailer for social media and YT, and identify your target group, just like the car companies, energy food manufacturers, cruises, and food delivery services. Your audience awaits.

The fragmentation of YouTube is the perfect complement for indie documentaries for three core reasons:

1. Like it or not, we’ve moved towards the second and third screens (desktop/laptops and smartphones) as the most capable destination for consuming content, all content. The filmmaker in me says, “People will care about the viewing experience!”—they don’t. Anywhere, any device. It's settled.

2. Social media is the perfect derivative promotional platform. Smart, short form, and targeted. No more full-page print ads, thin eblasts, or overpriced PR firms. Go to your audience on the cheap. Lead them towards consumption. Filmmakers can go directly to their potential audience for a lot less money.

3. Rather than wait for a broadcast license to validate your ego (because it won’t enrich you), make money like a start-up. Find your audience and sell them. There used to be a model where a specialty title, a DVD (or gasp! VHS) could be sold directly to your audience without affecting a future broadcast sale. Today a digital rental and a license of the same program to a streaming channel appear as two fruits from the same tree, but keep this in mind: it wasn’t always like that. Broadcasters for the longest time believed that 10,000 DVD sales for a year preceding a license term would muddy the waters for viewer interest. Never for a moment did they consider those 10,000 DVDs a demonstration of an audience. Many times they would walk away from a deal that was incorrectly perceived as audience saturation. There are 332 million people in the U.S. Isn't it possible that the 10,000-50,000 buyers are just a sample? Times have changed. Tech has beat broadcast, and with it, all the crappy conditions have fallen away from their anemic deals.

Thankfully, the old model got thrown out with the efficiency of digital delivery. Today coexistence inside the multi-delivery universe is standard. The audience is fully fragmented. If a big broadcast or streaming channel offer is forthcoming, great, pull it off YT. Until then, find your audience and earn revenue, as you should. The streamers will appreciate the audience you’ve captured and you will find that confirming data an asset in determining if your title is worth licensing.

To harness YT’s broad framework of marketing, we need a blueprint to succeed, a viable model to profit. The fragmentation of media has created an all-you-can-eat buffet that’s two miles long, and yet some people exclaim, “I snack and snack but I’m never full!” Familiar? Meet your audience where they are. Pull up a chair. They live at the YT buffet. They want a better meal. Let’s look at how AI can help fill their plate with your content as the main course…right now. Here are four of the basic tools AI can assist with in sharpening that outreach:

1. Audience Targeting: Use AI to understand what viewers like and how they behave. This helps content owners customize their marketing to reach specific groups more effectively, even niche audiences.

2. Predictive Analytics for Content Performance: With AI, analyze different aspects like genre, length, and keywords, as well as who your audience is. This helps filmmakers decide which content to promote first, based on what's likely to perform well.

3. Analyze and Optimize: Use AI tools to automatically make your videos better. AI can look at trends and suggest improvements to things like titles, descriptions, and thumbnails, making your content more appealing to viewers.

4. Personalized Recommendation Engines: Let AI recommend your content to individual viewers based on what they like. This can boost engagement and increase views, likes, and shares by suggesting content that matches each viewer's interests and habits.

This is new territory. Right now AI is a little difficult for many to grasp; it's new, but change is here…again. Here is a quick example of tech and media tripping over each other in a rush to service an emerging marketplace. Prior to the iPhone’s release in 2007, we had a world of Blackberries, Trios, and other pre-iPhone mobile devices that started to process video content. These were early days. The telephone companies ruled how revenue would be distributed with all that new mobile content surging through their new cell towers. They decreed 50% of every transaction, gross dollars, would be theirs before sending the remaining revenues downstream. Their greed was short-lived. The introduction of the iPhone and the “apps” universe took hold, introducing a far superior technology in delivery and consumption. A new ecosphere was born. Entrepreneurs were encouraged to create apps of all kinds and incentives were built in. Today, Apple charges 30% at the gate. That’s where we are today. AI is about to change how we approach finding our audience with better information and more of it.

Why YouTube? There are other platforms for transacting and delivering content. YouTube is an emporium and it’s mostly free. It maintains itself as the library of moving images on our laptop or desktop, an entire 100-story New York library. Its genius is its in-house tools for segmenting the audience. It algorithmically serves up more content for whatever searches are commenced.

Keyword your search and find your audience. For many independent productions, the days of enjoying a lucrative broadcast premiere are over. A new form of marketing within the YouTube superstructure needs to be developed for the myriad of documentaries. It's not enough to share in a few dollars of fractional ad revenue; there needs to be a form of real compensation in self-distribution. As a seasoned executive in international program sales, I know this. Polished programs are not fresh bread. Programs that are 5,10,15, even 25 years old have further life. Even when these programs were first released not everyone saw them. Get out there and cast your line. Longevity is a quiet asset. Your audience is waiting.

Problem Three

Film festivals have become a cinematic country club of privilege and exclusivity—they shouldn’t be. It wasn’t always that way. Film festivals were a way to enjoy a curated selection of films dedicated to a genre or a specific actor or director. Festivals were for everyone. No high-dollar velvet rope pass required. Just buy tickets for the films you want to see. Every local theater gathered a group of films that thematically would appeal to an audience. Afterward, head next door for drinks and food to connect with others about the meaning of it all.

Today’s movie experience is a world of singular films (many of negligible quality) preceded by 30 minutes of commercials ($16.00 for a ticket and $18.00 for a soda and popcorn). The value is gone. It's an obvious gouging, which perhaps encourages people to just wait for the “at-home” premiere. Do people want to go out to watch a film to have a shared experience? Yes, but when the cost outweighs the joy, people look for other distractions. Bring back value by opening theaters to a formula that worked well for decades. A selection of films for a reasonable price. Get them through the doors and into seats to watch, enjoy, eat, and drink.

A "film festival" might highlight some obscure Danish director or a specific genre, but one pass got you entrance for a day or a week. They weren’t the newest films, usually quite the opposite. There was value in learning about something else, something unfamiliar.

With the theatrical marketplace in turmoil, a revival of well-curated festivals needs to be introduced to every city in every state. Not the arthouse theaters, but the main theaters; the ones close by or anywhere that hosts public events—museums, colleges, city centers, anywhere with a screen and decent sound. Give people a reason to leave their house, talk, socialize, find their commonalities. Tom Cruise stars in some very entertaining films, but this industry will be defined by the storytellers we don't know. Let’s see films from the future Wes Andersons, Edgar Wrights, Christopher Nolans, and Paul Thomas Andersons. We need to have an alternative to those tent pole extravaganza releases and get audiences back into festivals for two obvious reasons. First, to have fun again. For everyone who's been to see a revival of Rocky Horror Picture Show or Moulin Rouge or Scott Pilgrim versus the World, it’s all about the big screen as a shared experience. When was the last time anyone saw Trainspotting or The Big Lebowski or Fight Club on a big screen like it was intended? When they did, they certainly remembered it. We still do. To a new generation, these films may have no resonance. The big screen is still a wonderful experience.

Second, Americans want to be entertained. The theatrical model is slowly dying for good reason. Spending money for a poorly conceived, overhyped, star-driven, comic book, stale popcorn movie ruins another Saturday night. Many have already sworn off the theatrical experience. It seems quaint that there was a time when parents could leave the kids for a night with the babysitter and go to dinner and a movie. (Today, that’s a $250 proposition.) It was once part of the fabric of American life but sadly sabotaged by the very industry trying to revive it. Crappy films preceded by endless inane commercials and trailers of loud, scary stupidity. When the feature presentation does finally appear, it is at best a two-star noisefest.

Curate themes to match cities and states. Get people away from the news; let them enjoy an unfolding story on film. Mix in new films and old. Exhibitors have the facilities—most are still empty, only slightly recovering after COVID-19. Yes, bring in younger people and have them see films the way they were supposed to be seen. Have Q&As with the audience afterward with academics or musicians or writers or comedians, perhaps even an actor or director—just like the big film festivals that most people never get to attend. It works in Cannes; it will work in St.Louis. Have people walk out…engaged, satisfied, and ever more curious about our big world. They will come back again. The current model isn’t working. It's time to draw on the past and get people connecting again in a place that everyone once held with great affection. Will theaters make less on ticket sales? Likely. But a near-empty house isn’t making them much either. Most theaters are multiplexes. Peel off one or two of the seven screens and watch people return. So will the joy.

Problem Four

Want better shows? The deals have to get better, seriously better. Our industry can point to a couple dozen filmmakers and producers who are well compensated, but the rest? It’s a form of creative sharecropping. Why does Netflix succeed in terms of quality programming? Besides a few outliers, they commission or acquire programs without editorial interference at good rates. I know, to the broadcast industry it's heresy, but in the Netflix this model it works. There are great filmmakers and films that get caught in an unending trap of crappy representation and lecherous negotiations to end up with very little compensation for their work, all to get on a branded network. They know it, and the networks exploit it.

There used to be a reason to get into this industry—to tell great stories and make money. It really happened. I witnessed it. I was a part of it. An entire generation of filmmakers has grown up with amazing tools to capture imagery and compose new films, but the deal-making, negotiation, and pricing for the finished work haven’t kept up with this amazing technology.

Let’s look at the not-so-distant past. A few years after emerging as a sincere alternative to broadcast television, cable channels became successful via the very shows they helped finance. Then, they decided to let the beancounters run the place. All the Emmys, film festival awards, and even a few Academy Awards they started to collect were because of the creative part of an unspoken partnership that functioned because of one simple premise: Everyone succeeds when we all work together. It was corrupted when the beancounters and agents stole that joy and kept it for themselves. For a moment, pretend you’re in the music business. We know the creators enjoy revenues, especially if they wrote a song or were lucky enough to perform it. They have guilds and unions to protect their rights. Not so in television. That idea that a producer brought into a development meeting? By the time it’s finally contracted the producer has given up their rights in exchange for financing. The network owns it. I’m not kidding. There are exemptions here and there, but after government legislation zeroed out producers' rights, the owners of the content are not the creators.

I’ve seen plenty of creators/producers who came up with a great show, then produced it for well under the going rate, scratch out little in the way of profit for a first and second season. That successful new concept series is then renewed for a whopping 3-4% budget increase in the third season. All the while the cable channel crying about how it’s “not really" rating. Then, a fourth-season negotiation gets heated and the big brains at the network take the series from the producers, cut it away from those creators, and give it to another production company. That’s not the end of it. Most producers used to maximize their sweat equity with a promise of revenues from international licensing. I occupied a seat in that big wheel of reliable revenue streams. They eventually took these assignable rights away from the producer and included them in the All Rights Worldwide production agreement. Though they did promise the producer he/she could receive 20% of the future international sales…except in the small print, the network had a branded version of its network outside the U.S., throughout the world in multiple forms of transmission and delivery. If it showed on their network, even dubbed into another language, it wasn’t considered a foreign sale. In the end, the producer saw nothing beyond the original production fee. It may have played for the next 20 years—unlikely the producer would ever see a dime.

An entire generation of filmmakers got stomped on. They had to give up on the idea of ownership of the intellectual property and any control of their creative/editorial process. Many producers told me they spent more time battling the network accountants than actually producing the films. It was as if the network was angry if the producer actually made any money. And that’s where we are. The big names can wait for the right deal. Everyone else has to expect to take a loss so the network can wildly succeed. They hope for a better deal the next go-around (which never happens) or they can move over to a supporting gig as a real estate agent (I’m not kidding, many do). I have friends who are or who have been buyers at various networks. We have real friendships beyond the world of television. We hang out, go camping, go to dinners, and attend each other's family events, but we do not agree on one thing. They believe all producers need hand-holding and constant creative input...interference I say, (they say "input") into every episode they green light. I disagree. Early on, the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and even PBS let producers do what they do best (hmm, isn’t it funny how Netflix employs the same strategy). We've become an industry of executive know-nothings who are paid to interfere in every production. Attack of the middle managers. I had one producer who sold a one-hour show on Spring Break, you know, the out-of-control, week-long celebration by college kids on the beaches of Florida. He turned in his second cut to find out that his executive producer had been promoted elsewhere in the company. The new EP watched the show and hated it. Why are there so many drunken, slurring, college kids? Why does it glorify partying? The producer, an older man, said simply his approved treatment was for an hour program about Spring Break, an American collegiate ritual, not an academic decathlon. Her reply? “This is why the Muslims hate us.” She was serious. What’s the point of telling great stories if someone is going to interfere with the process? (By the way, he finished the film and it rated very well.) The broadcast industry is collapsing in on itself from willful ineptness.

It's time for our industry to stand up and demand reasonable compensation for great ideas and valuable content. The American non-fiction production community couldn’t organize a lemonade stand on a hot day. It's a band of independents who want to disagree with everything and everyone to remain broke but independent. Do you think Ken Burns, Earl Morris, and other top-tier directors are worried about the independent filmmaking community? Long ago, they started making good money and good deals. They are the rightful independents who bow down to the funders because they know they can walk away if they don’t like a proposed deal. Everyone else who really needs protection has no guild or union to protect them. Too scared to not work again. Too scared to be blackballed. It's time we rethink supporting our creative community. The British, French, Spanish, etc. all protect producers' rights in terms of deal-making. They own their work and benefit from a structured creator/owner system that was put in place to protect them, not the broadcasters.

There was an experienced writer whose recent scripts never seemed to find success. Rejection after rejection became the norm, leaving him disheartened. Convinced his agents didn't take his work seriously, he took a bold step. He reprinted the script for Casablanca, changed the title, and inserted his name as writer. He sent it off to his agent for review and representation, only to be met with yet another rejection. Astonishingly, there were notes criticizing the basic premise of the story: "Why would Rick open a bar in Morocco? Too unbelievable," and “Weak dialogue.”

Someone wasn’t paying attention.

And that’s where we are. No one is paying attention to an American industry whose best resource is about to pack up and leave. There are plenty of industries where the government stepped in to assist during periods of change. In Europe, they partially fund new productions to keep their creative communities alive. In Hollywood, it's always been a game of sink or swim. Eventually, everyone was able to find a place to swim. Not this time. If we don’t start caring about who creates and produces our television shows and series, our feature films, this vibrant industry will lose its best asset—people.

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