Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the July 28, 2004 issue of U.S. 1
Newspaper. All rights reserved.
If you haven’t been there, spare me your condolences. Unemployment is
a world all its own, separate and apart. It is not about finances,
resumes, or making the mortgage payment. Unemployment is a crisis of
rejection, where you, and your society, call your entire character
into question – every day.
"Nothing tears at the fabric of the family as being suddenly
unemployed," says Tom Brophy. He should know. In his 14 years as
supervisor of claims for the New Jersey State Unemployment Office, he
has interviewed more than 50,000 unemployed people who want to get
back to work.
He shares his observations in "The Effect of Unemployment on the
Family" on Tuesday, August 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Church. There is
no cost; for directions, call 609-924-2277. The talk is presented by
JobSeekers, a non-profit employment networking and counseling group,
founded in l982 by Niels Nielsen, principal in Princeton Management
If you wander around the bronze tiger guarding the mouth of
Princeton’s Palmer Square, you will notice a small brick at the base
that memorializes "Brophy’s Shoe Store – the oldest continuous
retailer in Princeton." From 1896 to l984 a Brophy presided over the
store until the renovation of Palmer Square forced Brophy to close the
store’s doors for good. At that point, Brophy faced unemployment from
the only job he had held since graduating from New York’s Niagara
University with a business degree in l963.
Yet for him it was a swift, if not easy, step over to the state’s
unemployment office, where he has been deciding claims and training
out-of-work individuals ever since. His book, "TLC for the Unemployed
Professional," sums up his experiences and is available on his
"The trauma of having one’s job vanish is something that everybody
knows, but nobody wants to talk about," says Brophy. The unemployed
person smiles bravely to his friends, grinds out reams of resumes,
brushes and shines himself for the endless round of interviews, and
may appear busier than when he was going off to work. Yet all the
while, he is like a man at a roulette table, trying to take control of
the wheel, while not knowing how. "That’s the number one secret of all
unemployed," notes Brophy. "Through all the positive facade, they
really don’t have a clue as to what to do." And through it all, the
support of society begins to ebb away.
Career Stature. Fair or not: In most people’s eyes, you are what you
do. And what you do is your gainful employment. When a stranger at a
cocktail party asks ". . . and what do you do?" she is not inquiring
about about your hobbies or daily schedule. She wants to get at your
job – that thing that defines you and measures your worth along
society’s competitive yardstick. If you have no response, you are
nothing. She knows it, you know it, and you are dismissed.
Family support. They are your last refuge. Thus from them, the new
disrespect stabs sharpest. It comes subtly at first. Your children
seem to be giving you a bit more lip lately. They sit at the breakfast
table, all dressed for school, looking at this adult in the bathrobe,
and tacitly question, "Who’s in charge here?" Your spouse explains the
situation to them and how they have to be more careful in spending.
All the while, you are smiling bravely, sending out resumes, listening
to their excuses about you: "Jim is examining his options." No one is
fooled, least of all you.
Change the picture. All isn’t lost. Family members have more influence
than they think and can take productive steps to help an unemployed
member get back on his feet. Here are some suggestions that can work:
Don’t forget that the enemy is invisible. When a patient is
hospitalized in critical condition, the damage is evident by his
physical appearance. Unemployed people can be in critical shape, but
you can’t see the damage because their outward appearance hasn’t
Don’t make trite, shallow remarks. Perhaps a wife says: "Honey, I know
how you feel, and everything is going to work out." If she knew how he
feels, she wouldn’t say that. Try saying something that shows
unconditional support, like: "There’s no way that I can experience the
tremendous pain that you’re in, but because I love you, if there is
anything, and I mean anything, I can do to ease your pain, please let
me do it." Such loving statements may encourage the unemployed person
to begin sharing bottled-up feelings.
Use actions and body language to convey support. You may not have to
say anything. Simply convey love in the way you look at the jobless
family member. Perhaps you have a special look or way of holding hands
that says "I’m with you all the way."
Don’t expect the unemployed person to tell you much. To acknowledge
they don’t know what they’re doing is too great a leap. However,
unemployed professionals should try to sit down with the family early
on and lay their cards on the table. Help them to know what to do by
saying, "This is all new to me, and I am going to need your love and
support more than ever."
Brophy is fond of citing his man/automobile analogy. "Think of a man
as a car who needs 10 gallons of emotional gas to make it through the
week. He gets five from his job and five from home and friends." The
math is simple. The job goes, leaving you five gallons short.
Meanwhile, unemployment’s inherent pinhole leaks slowly, siphoning
away the other five gallons normally supplied by family and friends.
"A person survives on victories," says Brophy. "Unemployment is a
world of ceaseless rejection. Without some victories blended into
life, the person will die. Literally – not metaphorically." Brophy
keeps hammering home this grim vision of the culture of joblessness
because he feels alone. Whole forests have been sacrificed to those
smiley-face, how-to articles about job finding. As joblessness
explodes across our nation, articles on "How to Interview," "How to
Network," "Writing Your Resume," and "The 10 Best Job-Hunting Tips"
swamp periodicals with the frequency of weight-loss features.
But this is not the message of unemployment. Experience has taught
Brophy that no one can get a job if he does not feel good about
himself. The victories and self-esteem must first be reinstated to
make the hunting process of use. Bringing people back to strength is
Brophy’s main goal. "People’s gratitude and loyalty for just a little
advice is mind-boggling," says Brophy. It makes one realize just how
important getting back to work really is.
– Bart Jackson
How many roles do you fill each day? Business person, spouse, errand
runner, parent, friend – every day each of us juggles a variety of
roles in both our business and our personal lives. "Our business and
our personal lives are becoming more and more integrated these days,"
says Grazina Crisman, a productivity coach and organizer. "When people
try to resist integration they are fighting an uphill battle that they
will eventually lose."
"Business vs. Personal Time: The Daily Juggling Act" is the topic of
the breakfast meeting hosted by NJAWBO (New Jersey Association of
Women Business Owners) on Thursday, August 5, at 8 a.m. at the
Americana Diner on Route 130 in East Windsor. Crisman facilitates the
free meeting. For reservations call Amanda Puppo at 609-448-6364.
Crisman, whose coaching business is called the Productivity Shoppe,
says that guilt is often the biggest problem people face in
integrating their business and their personal lives. "At end of day,
if I’ve accomplished a lot of small business things to the detriment
of some important personal things, I’ll feel guilty and distracted and
vice versa." The balancing act between business and personal life is
often a big problem for the growing number of people who work out of
their homes, but it is also an issue for anyone who works long hours
and commutes, which, in this area, is just about everyone.
"Not everyone works at home, but everyone still has doctors’
appointments and other personal errands that have to take place during
the day. We can’t be expected to only take care of certain types of
things between noon and 1 p.m.," says Crisman. "All of it is
important, and unless you work on a production line, you are going to
Most good business managers understand the need for their employees to
have a personal life. "It all takes time and if a person is
productive, a good manager will understand," says Crisman.
As a productivity coach, Crisman works with individuals, small groups,
and companies to do whatever it takes for them to have a more
productive day. "I help them organize their time and organize their
files," she says. "If I’m working with a team I teach them to support
one another to increase their productivity."
Crisman holds an MBA in operations research and began her business
after spending more than 20 years in management for a variety of
companies, including several high tech companies. "After the third
high tech company I worked for was bought out, I wanted to do
something on my own," she explains. "I’ve always enjoyed organizing
things, but I didn’t see how that could translate into a business." On
the Internet she came across the National Association of Professional
Organizers and went to a meeting in Philadelphia. Her reaction: "I
found my people!"
Crisman has several tips to help business people become better
Combine your calendar. One of the quickest ways to organize both your
personal and professional lives is to keep only one calendar. "A lot
of people have one for the office and one for home. This is
confusing," Crisman says. "Figure out a system that works for you,
maybe keep part of a page for work and part for home, but keep it all
on one page. That way it is a lot harder to kid yourself about exactly
what it is you have to do."
Focus on what you are doing. What you are doing at any given time will
be done better if it receives your full attention. One good way to do
this, Crisman says, is to create blocks of time for various
activities, instead of constantly shifting from one thing to another.
"If you are making phone calls, do several at a time, then move on to
something else," she suggests.
Create a space to work. Uncluttered work space will help you focus on
your job. This is particularly important if you work at home, says
Crisman. "It is very rude to have dogs barking and babies crying in
the background when you are making a conference call. The first time
your child interrupts you during business is cute, but it is never
If you work at home, be professional. This is particularly important,
Crisman says, if the rest of your team works out of an office. "The
way to get people to accept that you work at home is to be
professional. Make believe you are in the office next door. Never be
late. People don’t care where you work from if the work gets done."
Create a routine. If you work at home a routine is even more important
than it is if you work in an office building. "Some people get up at
whatever their regular time used to be. Then, instead of commuting,
they use that time to read the paper or exercise or do something for
themselves." That’s fine, in fact it is an important health and morale
booster. But no matter what time you decide to sit down at your desk,
keep it consistent. Be at your desk at a regular time everyday.
"That doesn’t mean you can’t stop and throw in a load of laundry. But,
don’t get into bad habits like turning on the boob tube for the news
at noon and sticking around to watch a movie," says Crisman. "That’s
the kiss of death."
Business is still business. "The more integrated your life is the more
painstaking you must be about giving the right business perception,"
Crisman advises. For example, don’t bring your children along when you
are going to meet a business prospect.
Finally, says Crisman, we must all learn to think through our lives
and find out where each part of it fits in. Everyone has his own
formula for making the many parts of life fit together and everyone
needs to blend and integrate those parts. "Don’t resist it and don’t
feel guilty about it," says Crisman. "Instead, think through what
blending means to you."
– Karen Miller
Whether you own your own business, or you’re in management in a
corporation; if you’re a man or a woman; if you’re networking,
cultivating a new client, or nurturing a connection with an existing
one, a great way to do it is on the golf course. Not just for doctors
on their day off anymore, the game has become such an important
networking tool that without it you’re likely to miss out on some
golden business opportunities.
But it’s never too late to learn. Joe Caggiano, director of golf
instruction for Hamilton Golf Center, is seeing more and more adult
beginners. "Golf is a networking tool, without a doubt. You go out for
four hours or so with a client – they get to know you, you get to know
them – it’s a great setting to conduct business."
Caggiano will be helping beginners get ready for the green by teaching
the art and etiquette of golf in "Intro to Golf" at Mercer County
Community College, in four consecutive sessions on Thursday evenings
at 5:30 p.m. or Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., Thursday, August 5,
through Saturday, August 28. Cost: $150. Call 609-586-9446.
Originally from the Bronx, Caggiano started out as a stock trader "on
the New York and American stock exchanges; it was a ball. Almost like
a game," he says. He’d been an avid golfer, and experienced the
benefits of golf as a business skill, but he didn’t think that it was
in the cards as his profession. However, when a car accident sidelined
him, he began studying techniques to get stronger. He started teaching
friends what he was learning and found it more fun than his job on the
Exchange. "When it stops being fun, you get out. I retired from the
floor in 1990." Currently living in East Windsor ("We moved to New
Jersey for better family surroundings and a better way of life for our
kids") Caggiano now finds himself teaching people he might have met on
the floor years ago.
"A large majority of the people learning golf now see their companies
holding golf outings, and they don’t want to be sidelined," he says.
And if they’re in sales, Caggiano says, golf is almost a necessity.
It’s a more relaxed way to build relationships than the standard
meeting or networking function.
Golf is also a great place to learn about the people you’re playing
with. "If you’re out with someone and they’re always cheating, what do
you think they’ll be like in business?" True, Caggiano says, "When
you’re playing you’re trying to beat each other. But when you’re done
you shake hands and respect each other’s effort." It’s also a self
regulated game "there’s no umpire calling a foul," he points out, "so
there’s personal responsibility involved."
With the MCCC "Intro to Golf" course "we’re not looking to put them on
tour," Caggiano says, but participants will "get the basics. Golf
isn’t learned in a week or a month or even a year." But, he promises,
if you learn the basics, you won’t be intimidated by the game and
you’ll be able to join in the 18-hole networking. And, he says,
"You’ll be able to have fun – our program stresses fun." Golf,
Caggiano says, can be enjoyable even if you’re not really good at it.
"You go out and play and do the best you can." Perfectionists, he
says, will learn quickly that they will not master the game overnight.
Caggiano knows from experience "you could play a lifetime and there
will still be something to learn."
If you want to play, you need to have some basic skills, as well as
some inside scoops on golfing etiquette under your belt. Caggiano
offers these points to know before you go:
Dress. "It’s hard to enforce dress at public courses; most private
clubs enforce a dress code, but I would never play in a un-collared
shirt, un-tucked, or in shorts," Caggiano says. "You should look neat
Be early. "Most people start work at 8:30 or 9 a.m., but if they don’t
want to be rushed, they arrive early," says Caggiano. Same goes for
the golf course. "Don’t be in a rush. Give yourself enough time to
check in. A half hour to 45 minutes is good."
Be prepared. Some golf courses rent golf clubs, some don’t. "Know in
advance if you need to bring your own." Bring lots of extra balls,
too. You don’t want to find yourself on the fifth hole with all five
of your balls gone missing in water hazards, woods, or thigh-high
Keep up the pace. "If you’re playing at a slow pace and people are
moving quickly around you, let them play through," Caggiano says. This
will eliminate the stress on your group. However, he notes that with
the abundance of people on the courses these days, you may have to
adjust the game. "If you can’t see the group in front of you, and the
group behind you is always waiting, pick up the ball, bring it on the
green and play from there. Or you may have to skip a hole or two."
Mix it up. In a group consisting of players of varying skills, try a
"scramble," where "everybody hits the ball, and you go to the person
whose ball is in the best position and play from there. That way all
of the pressure is taken off of performing."
Prizes. Lots of company tournaments and charity golf outings include
prizes. "If you win something that has a value of more than $500, make
sure that you’re not going to lose your amateur status," Caggiano
warns. Someone at the outing can tell you this, or, Caggiano says,
check with the United States Golf Association. By accepting a prize,
you’ll be considered a "pro" and in the future when you play, your
score can’t count.
If you try to slip it by, your team can be disqualified. However, if
you don’t care about tournaments, by all means, Caggiano says, take
the prize. "I knew a woman who hadn’t been playing for very long, but
she hit a hole in one, and she won a new car," he says of one golfer
who didn’t think twice about giving up her amateur standing. The pro
status doesn’t last forever, so check with the USGA for more
information about that, says Caggiano.
Above all, have fun – "Do the best you can, but make sure it’s fun,"
Caggiano says. "If you’re out there and you don’t like it, why do it?"
Then again, Caggiano finds it hard to believe that people won’t.
"What’s not to like? You’re outside, you’re playing golf! As the old
saying goes: A bad day on the golf course is better than a day at
Perhaps combining the two is the next best thing. – Deb
How do you deal with the little things that interfere with your work?
Joanne White calls them "time and power snatchers." A professor of
education at Temple University, she teaches busy people to find out
what zaps their power and energy and how to better deal with the
distractions of daily life.
"Many people think that telephone calls or interruptions from
co-workers are what take away from their time and power," White says,
"but in reality, we need to think more about what is really meaningful
"Getting Rid of Time and Power Snatchers" is the title of a seminar
White gives on Wednesday, August 5, at 9 a.m. at the Enterprise Center
on the Mt. Laurel Campus of Burlington County College. Cost: $135.
Call 609-877-4520, ext. 3021.
A teacher, speaker, author, and therapist, White lives in Cherry Hill.
She received both her master’s and Ph.D. from Temple University. Her
website, www.drjoannewhite.com, offers advice and insight into a
variety of topics, from parenting to self-improvement, to dealing with
job and life changes and stress. Her work, she says, "helps people get
to a place of personal satisfaction and growth."
White says that she sees herself as a catalyst for change. "I truly
believe that every person has everything he or she needs inside of
them to live a more satisfying, successful and balanced life," she
says. A key to doing so is to "take a look at identifying what in life
detracts from their time and personal power."
We all realize that time is a limited resource but many people, White
says, lose concentration and worry about the small "time snatchers,"
while losing sight of more important things. "Everyone needs to think
about how they structure their time," she says. "Making lists and
other time management skills are important, but most of us still seem
to find ourselves in a crunch for more time. We really need to figure
out what is truly meaningful in life. We tend to do what is urgent,
rather than what is important."
For example, many people get bogged down in the chores of everyday
life, taking care of their business and family, while forgetting that
taking care of their bodies, which should be a top priority. "A person
might say, ‘I need to be physically active and I need to take care of
my kids,’" says White, who suggests trying to find an activity that
can be shared with children and that takes care of both needs. This,
she says, is efficiently using both time and energy.
"We talk about time, when what we are really talking about is energy,
the ability to use our time more effectively by looking at what gives
us both energy and vitality in all facets of our lives," White says.
"What gives value to our lives: some things are emotional, some are
physical, some are spiritual."
What drains our power, she adds, is the way in which we react to
things and our thought processes. "We often see power snatchers as
things that are external, but in reality they’re often what we do to
ourselves: indecision, worry, distraction, moving too quickly from
this thing to that thing. And what interferes with our power
interferes with time."
White calls her method of looking at time management a new paradigm.
"The old model, she says, "was about managing time. I look at it
differently. It is not just about managing time, but about taking a
personal leadership approach to life."
She asks people to identify what is important in the workplace and in
their personal lives. "Take a look at your core values: honesty,
integrity, family. It is about recognizing what values are important
to you. Ask what your partner’s values are, your co-workers’ values,
your family’s values. If those values aren’t present in your job, you
don’t change jobs. You build what is worthwhile into your current
job," she explains.
White suggests several ways in which people can bring her philosophy
into their lives.
Think about your decisions. "Fill your life with balance. Fill your
life with what is important to you," she says. "When you take life
back to what is really meaningful to you, you feel in charge of your
decisions and your actions."
Create blocks of time. Don’t ignore the things in life that are
meaningful to you. By creating special blocks of time for those
activities, says White, you will increase your energy. If you feel you
can’t find time for everything you need or want to do, try tracking
your time for several days to see exactly how you are spending it.
Then it will be easier to find ways to rearrange your schedule to fit
in those special activities.
Time is not the culprit. "Remember," says White, "that you have
control over how you choose to spend your time. If our values are in
sync with how we live our lives and how we spend time our time, we
will have a sense of accomplishment and joy."
– Karen Miller
Young Professionals of Middlesex County (YP), part of the Middlesex
County Regional Chamber of Commerce (MCRCC), has sent out a call for
new members and announced its summer event series.
"Networking can sometimes be daunting for professionals who are
relatively new to the workforce. We want to create a relaxed
atmosphere where young professionals and entrepreneurs can discuss
issues that directly impact them," Mike Loftus of Snelling Personnel,
co-founder and co-chairperson of the group, said in a prepared
statement. The mission of YP is to connect young professionals to each
other and to the community through social, civic and charitable
endeavors. At the events, young professionals can make new business
contacts in a friendly, social environment.
The program is the first of its kind offered by MCRCC. Co-chairs
Loftus, Kristen Farrar of Mendlowitz Weitsen, LLP, and Raj Narayanan
of Emerald Financial Resources approached Chamber president,
Christopher Phelan, about the possibility of launching a young
professionals group. "Chris shared our enthusiasm and provided us with
the support needed to launch the program," said Narayanan, "YP helps
us to further enhance our professional development and introduce a new
member community to the Chamber."
"We encourage young professionals to bring colleagues and friends, as
this is shaping up to be an exciting event," says Farrar, who is also
the recent recipient of MCRCC’s Women in Business Award. A late summer
trip to a Somerset Patriots game is also planned. Says Farrar, "We
wish to offer a variety of activities, so young professionals with all
different types of interests will get involved."
To register for the upcoming events or join YP, visit www.mcrcc.org or
Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Savino Financial Group of
Princeton has donated funds for an interview room in Rider
University’s Career Services Center. Joseph M. Savino, the managing
partner, is a long-time member of Rider’s College of Business
Administration Business Advisory Board.
Petco Animal Supplies Inc. is sponsoring a Round-Up/Spay Today
Fundraiser from July 25 to August 15. Funds raised by customers who
"round-up" their purchases to the nearest dollar will be donated to
the Petco Foundation, which supports animal welfare groups.
Corrections or additions?
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