Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Choose Skill over Passion… Surviving Rocky Interviews… Are Social Media the Death Knell to Academia?

Choose Skill over Passion

Would you want to be treated by a doctor who had a passion for medicine but who consistently performed poorly in physiology, chemistry, and anatomy? Of course not.

That’s because we are meant to do what we’re good at, not necessarily what we love. If passion and skill happen to mesh, bravo. But often they do not, and that’s not so bad. Society works when people are effective in what they do, so instead of pursuing an unattainable passion, the better route for individuals is to discover what they’re skilled at and do it. The satisfaction of a job well done may not feel like passion, but it’s a lot better than trying to be a diva if one is tone deaf.


Surviving Rocky Interviews

Job interviews are stressful in the best of circumstances. But what to do when the interview is clearly not going well? Below is advice about how to navigate some of the most common causes of an interview that is headed for disaster.

Poor interviewer. If an interviewer is obviously unprepared or uninterested, it’s still up to the applicant to weather the storm with his or her best effort, advises Sarah Johnston, a former recruiter. She suggests showing the interviewer one’s suitability for the position with grace.

Unexpected questions or tests. It’s best to expect the unexpected, so preparation is the only way to push through this situation. However, even if an interviewee bombs an unexpected test or question, a rocky interview can still lead to a good outcome if the rest of the interview has gone smoothly.

Sudden realization the position is wrong. Many people discover in the middle of an interview that they are a poor fit for the position or the organization. In such a situation, the best course of action is continue participating in the interview. One can always turn down an offer.

From Linkedin

Are Social Media the Death Knell to Academia?

“The tinderization of scholarship” may lead to the downfall of academics, writes a contributor to

The Chronicle of Higher Education. Prof. Justin E. H. Smith notes that although he has not yet heard about tenure committees checking academic social media sites such as, he does see that social media are increasingly driving academics to favor “likes” above scrupulous scholarship.

Academia is like many institutions that slavishly follow page views and other metrics instead of measured, tried-and-true research. Especially prone to this new reality are academics who are precariously employed or underemployed.

The “tyranny of metrics” should be mitigated by scholars who are committed to the serious work of research and acquisition of knowledge, Smith writes.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education

Ghosting a Hirer Will Haunt You… The Art of Self Promotion… Writing Lessons from Jeff Bezos

Ghosting a Hirer Will Haunt You

In an era where breaking up via text message is common, many find having to deliver bad news in a professional context terrifying. But while avoiding the unpleasant task of telling an employer you are not accepting a job offer may sound like a good idea, it isn’t.

The situation is so rampant that Lindsey Pollak, a consultant who addresses multigenerational issues in the workplace, was asked to teach college students attending recruiting events how to politely turn down an offer.

Pollak warns that “ghosting” an employer can have lasting repercussions despite the reason. Whether job seekers are waiting to hear about another offer, considering a counter offer at a current job, or just plain avoiding the potential future employer out of embarrassment, ghosting in a professional context will very likely come back to haunt them.

The rejected recruiter can harbor negative feelings about candidates or become aware of lies they told to wriggle out of the offer. The job seekers’ unwillingness to be honest with the employer can tarnish their reputation, especially in industries where professional communities share information.

The best advice for job candidates is to be up front during negotiations. They should show enthusiasm for the position but tell the interviewer about any factors that may affect their decision to accept a job.

From The Wall Street Journal

The Art of Self Promotion

Many individuals find discussing themselves distressing, but being able to talk about professional accomplishments is key to a successful career. Experts offer advice that will help even the most modest workers make sure their good work is noticed.

Track accomplishments. A written record of daily or weekly activities can be a helpful reminder of specific accomplishments that can be brought up at a later time.

Compile data.Employers respond to numbers. Quantifying accomplishments can help an employer evaluate an employee’s worth.

Pick the right time to promote yourself. The time and place to discuss accomplishments is not during a company meeting. However, one-on-ones with a supervisor and yearly reviews are times to demonstrate one’s value.

Be honest about expertise. While no one likes a braggart, modesty is not much better. An honest appraisal of one’s worth is integral to self-promotion.

Discuss team dynamics. Detailing an individual contribution to a team project is a good way to demonstrate value to an employer.

Experts warn that self-promotion, though warranted, should be modulated. Downplaying other team members’ contributions and taking credit unfairly is always a poor strategy.


Writing Lessons from Jeff Bezos  

The richest man in the world doesn’t rely on public relations staff or attorneys when communicating to his shareholders. Instead, Jeff Bezos uses his own highly developed writing skills, unlike many CEOs who rely on others to convey both good and bad news to stakeholders.

Bezos has been writing Amazon’s annual letters that address shareholders’ concerns and company news since 1997. Jean-Louis Gassée, a blogger for the tech industry blogging platform Monday Morning, says Bezos’s communication gifts are apparent in these letters as the Amazon chief is “writing well, affirmatively, with grace, and not infrequent humor.”

In fact, Bezos takes writing—the painstaking process of writing—to heart. He has come to believe that a written document is superior to a PowerPoint presentation when he addresses his shareholders.

“We write narratively structured six-page memos […] the great memos are written and re-written, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two,” Bezos writes.

Bezos’ letters to shareholders show his profound understanding of his business. One year, he wrote about Amazon’s engineering feats, unafraid to use technical terms to explain a process in detail. Still, as a savvy writer, Bezos also appealed to his readers’ needs before their eyes were “glazing over” by reminding them that those very engineering accomplishments were responsible for increasing Amazon’s bottom line.

Drafting, rewriting, editing, and audience awareness are Bezos’ secret to good writing—a refrain that is likely familiar to business communication students.





Employers Favor Men (But Not Why You Think)…  Advice from the Career Trenches… Chill Out—It’s Good for You 

Employers Favor Men (But Not Why You Think)

Gender discrimination is not a result of prejudice, according to Harvard researchers. Instead, gender bias occurs because men have the perception that members of their own gender will perform better.

In When Gender Discrimination Is Not About Gender, Harvard Business School researchers and a Stanford economics professor documented plenty of evidence that discrimination against women exists. However, that discrimination is not a result of animus or gender stereotypes, they found.

The study sample was broken into 100 job seekers (whose genders were hidden) and 800 hirers. The job seekers completed quizzes on sports and math, on which the men performed slightly higher, answering on average one more question correctly than the females. Even that marginal difference caused the hirers to be much more likely to hire a candidate from the male group, not knowing they were choosing a man.

From this result, the researchers concluded that prejudice against women wasn’t the culprit for favoring men over women when hiring. Instead, these potential employers were choosing candidates they thought came from higher performing groups.

From HBS Working Knowledge

 Advice from the Career Trenches

The course of true love (or career paths) never did run smooth, to paraphrase Shakespeare. But a few young workers share their zig-zag routes to career satisfaction.

Alicia Winkle started in a sales job after college that earned her a good salary but left her hungry for meaning. She quit sales and took any job she could find in the mental-health field. Today she has a full roster of patients she helps on Talkspace, an app that links therapists with patients for online talk therapy.

Naomi Granger spent 12 years as a public accountant before she launched her own business providing financial advice to cannabis startups. Now she’s a happy camper.

Jordan Olson always loved cheerleading, but after college, he worked as an auditor for an accounting firm. Dissatisfied, he brought his tremendous work ethic to Varsity Spirit, a firm that sells cheerleading and dance apparel.

From The Wall Street Journal

Chill Out—It’s Good for You

We live in a culture that doesn’t value sitting still, but excessive busyness can lead to negative effects on mental health, productivity, and well-being.

In fact, idleness brings many benefits. One of the positive effects of doing nothing is daydreaming, which stokes creativity. Similarly, idleness provides time to recharge and therefore improve productivity. Finally, putting a stop to a cycle of busyness can help solve problems because that break allows an individual to look at matters from a different angle.

Below are a few tips to promote mindful idleness.

  • Reserve time to do nothing and let the mind wander
  • Be unapologetic about doing nothing
  • Keep devices out of reach

 From The New York Times