Friday, October 23, 2009

12 Tips for Avoiding Unnecessary Holiday Stress

As we head toward the holidays, I am sure thousands, if not millions, of people nationwide are beginning to stress about their holiday travel plans. Air travel can be daunting. No matter how much experience you have had with it, the hassle and worry associated with navigating a bustling airport and enduring a long flight tends to weigh heavy on travelers’ minds.

From the unwanted elbows and comments from tightly packed neighbors to the numerous check-in, security and boarding lines, stress is a constant for most people flying during the holiday season. As a frequent traveler myself, I am here to tell you with a little planning, air travel can be enjoyable, even relaxing.

The key to avoiding travel stress is organization. Do yourself a favor, follow my 12 tips and you will fly with peace of mind and avoid more grief than you can imagine

What to bring with you

Your choice of gear can make the difference between a relaxing getaway in the sky, and a seemingly endless stay in a sardine can.

1) Carry a comfortable neck pillow (I like Talus' HedBed) to use as either a low back or neck support. Label it with your name and cell phone number, just in case you mislay it.

2) Carry soft foam earplugs (or use my favorite Clarity Aloft noise cancelling headset which combines the foam earplugs with a high quality headset) to eliminate noisy seatmates.

3) When flying, wear slip-on shoes (for easy security removal) that have room for your feet to swell in-flight.

4) Carry an empty water bottle, which you can fill inside of security and save the cost of buying expensive airport bottled water.

5) Take snacks (dried fruit, protein bars, jerky) in individual plastic bags. Any excess should be carried in the original unopened packaging if travelling to a foreign country where sealed packages for personal use are usually allowed.

6) Take reading material you can discard along the way to lighten your load. Magazines and must-read paperwork that you do not have to return home are good candidates for travel reading.


What should be as simple as taking off one’s shoes has the ability to cause more stress and wasted time than any other step in the flying process. Don’t be afraid of the security line – plan ahead!

7) Plan your travel togs to exclude any large metal buckles, bracelets, necklaces or pins to keep metal detector gymnastics to a minimum

8) Place your bags on the x-ray conveyor belt in the order you want to reattach (stack) them. That's suitcase first, then briefcase, then computer inside the security bin, then shoes and jacket/purse in the last bin.

Don’t Forget
Before you leave your house, know where all of your important paperwork is. Stay organized and you will minimize your worries.

9) When you make your reservation; keep a list of alternative flights, just in case your flight is late or cancels.

10) When flying internationally or when you have more than one connecting flight, be sure you have on-going boarding passes for the second leg of your journey. Know your connecting gate and recheck the monitors at your intermediate stop to be sure the gate has not changed.

11) Always check for your passport, wallet, tickets, purse, and identification before you move from any long-seated location (boarding area, airplane seat, car, bus, etc.).

Once You’re in the Air

12) After takeoff, remove your carry-on bag from under the seat in front of you and place it behind your legs. Now you can stretch out and relax.

Following these tips will help you ensure a smoother, more carefree journey and leave you free to worry about more important issues.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Won't They Hire Me?

If after all is said and done, what can you do if you get an awful letter telling you "thanks, but no thanks"?

Don't think of it as the end but rather as a beginning. Consider this a time for some reflection and analysis and then go back to the drawing board to analyze what might have gone wrong. Perhaps we should rephrase the question from "Why won't they hire me?" to "Why SHOULD they hire me?" in order to come up with some good strategies to deal with the inevitable ego crushing that often results from a rejection letter.

Do You have the Right Qualifications?

If you made it to an interview, it's probably safe to assume you met the company's qualifications and that is not your limiting factor. However, you made need to your qualifications in more detail.

Combing your application, resume and portfolio may yield a few details that you overlooked in the interview process that may have swayed the hiring manager's decision. The big qualifier, of course, is the interview itself. But trying to analyze your own performance can be tough, particularly if you're not experienced and you think everything went fine. To analyze your performance objectively, ask yourself these questions:

1) What kind of rapport did I establish with the interviewer(s)and how quickly did this occur?
2) Were my answers succinct and to the point, relating my person, professional and educational background to their specific query?
3) Did I look and act like I really wanted the job, as well as showing that I am knowledgeable about the workings of the company?

Remember that your interview responses are actually a sales pitch for you and your abilities. If you don't give interviewers the information they need to make a decision (read: Why should they hire you?), you may find yourself interviewing over and over with nothing more than a pile of rejection letters to show for your trouble. Use your pre-interview study time to prepare a unique discussion of why you want to work for that particular organization, what special qualities you possess, and how you can enhance their operation. Sell them on your skills and why, in a word, they should hire you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Importance of Attitude

Your attitude and actions are the keys to your success! Your continued employment depends on a variety of factors: preparation, perseverance, promptness, and the big one, maintaining a positive attitude. Remember how hard you worked to get your job. Now, dedicate yourself to keeping it by learning to do it their way, asking for help when you need it, concentrating on your training with no outside distractions, and demonstrating that you are that exemplary employee they hired.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Perceptions: Often of Our Own Making

Perceptions, both your own and those of others, will have an impact on your career. Assert yourself and act like the professional you aspire to become. If you find yourself in a situation where your talents aren't appreciated, it may be time to move on to another one where they will be. Or, to put a slightly different twist on one of my old sayings: "If you don't take a serious interest in your own future, who will?"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How is Your Sales Pitch?

Perfecting your sales pitch will help you progress through the ranks, opening doors that can lead to new opportunities. So how do you begin this process? I suggest you start by imagining yourself sitting in front of a prospective employer who is saying, "Tell us about yourself." This request is akin to their asking, "Why should I buy your product. What can you do better than your competition? Convince me that you're right for this job."

Start by making a list of your best qualities as well as those that make you unique. Your skills, talents, and extra curricular activities are pluses that you'll want to describe during your soliloquy. How will you assist their organization? What have you done in the past that qualifies you for the job? What new ideas do you bring to the company? What special achievements or awards in your past should they know about? Remember, it's up to you to share this information with them. Don't make them dig for it.

Plan your delivery carefully, add to it as you acquire additional skills and experience, and remember that your success depends on being your own best salesperson.