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Survival Guide: Job Hunting Over 40
Remember when looking for a job was almost easy? You were in your
early 20s, fresh out of college and ready to take on the world. You
didn’t have any big financial obligations and the future stretched out
before you with a variety of luscious possibilities and paths.
In your 30s, you had some solid experience under your belt so if you
were out looking for work, you had more command, and a clearer vision
of what you wanted.
In your 40s it’s a whole new ballgame, says business and personal
coach Mike Mulcahy (www.mjmulcahy.com). On Wednesday, November 10,
Mulcahy speaks on "Career Challenges Over 40" at a free meeting of the
Employment Networking Group at St. Gregory the Great church in
Hamilton Square. www.stgregorythgreat.org. His own career challenges
are part of what brought the Verona-based Mulcahy to his current
business. Born in New York to first generation Irish immigrants,
Mulcahy’s father was a laborer and World War II veteran. His mother,
"a career woman before it was usual," was an office manager. In 1953
his parents moved to New Jersey and "I’ve been a Jersey boy ever
since," he says. Mulcahy got his B.A. in sociology and master’s in
communication arts from William Patterson University.
After working for 30 years in the corporate world in office automation
and disaster recovery, where he "explained the business side to the
tech people and visa versa," Mulcahy had his own series of personal
disasters. His wife of 19 years died, leaving Mulcahy with two young
sons. "I was now a single parent and my job required a lot of travel,"
he says. Around the same time, the company he was with was doing some
downsizing, and Mulcahy started to re-think his future.
"I’d been marginalized, so I went out with my options intact and
decided I wanted to do something different," he says. But it took some
soul searching before he moved on to his next phase. "My career wasn’t
designed at that point," he says. "I wasn’t making conscious decisions
about what to do."
After his own searching, he found the perfect synergy of skills and
interest in the world of personal and business coaching. Mulcahy was
trained by the Coaches Training Institute, an internationally
recognized program for training and accreditation of personal and
professional coaches, and he began helping other people manage life’s
In his work as a coach, and as a member of the board of directors at
the Center for Third Age Leadership (named for sociologist William
Sadler’s book "The Third Age"), Mulcahy helps individuals make the
most of their "third age" – their lives from age 45 on.
"I think there needs to be a greater recognition of older workers,"
says Mulcahy. Younger workers may bring energy and enthusiasm, he
says, "but we work smarter. There’s a great value in all that
experience and ability." As boomers age, Mulcahy notes, "people will
rebalance how they spend their lives. There’s all the ability and
knowledge and experience." When corporations tap into that experience,
he says, "maybe we’ll change the way we work. Because the benefits can
be extraordinary. It doesn’t have to be ‘either- or’."
Over 40 workers may find themselves batted about by circumstances they
have no control over, including age discrimination, Mulcahy says. It
isn’t blatant, but it’s there. They might tell you that you’re
overqualified for a job or that the salary’s too low. They’re afraid
you’ll "bounce," he says. A person with a rich resume and experience
may find himself in the same boat as a pretty girl sitting in the
corner at a dance. "Nobody wants to dance with the pretty girl,"
Mulcahy says, "everyone’s afraid."
But the clearer you are, the better your chances. "There are people
out there getting jobs," he says. "You may just need to be open
minded. If you have a basic core of expertise – let’s say you’ve been
in pharmaceutical sales; you could work in another industry. Consider
a lateral move. Be willing to take a pay cut if you want to get in the
right corporation. You might also want to open up your commute."
You may have to look outside your comfort zone to find work, he says,
but you CAN find it. "In real estate it’s all about location,
location, location, and in this kind of job search it’s all about
focus, focus, focus."
Create structure One of the biggest problems for people used to
working a full-time job, and suddenly out of work, is the plunge into
a life without structure. "Find structure and discipline," he says.
Track your time. How much are you actually spending on your job hunt?
"Don’t mistake activity for action," he says. "You could just be a
gerbil on a wheel going nowhere. Ask yourself: is this activity
bearing fruit? Focus on the thing that moves the action forward."
Network You’ve probably heard it a million times before, Mulcahy says,
but you hear it because it’s true: if you’re out of work, your job is
to network. "Are you meeting with people who can help you, or are you
just having coffee with friends? It’s all about marketing – self
marketing," he says. "I think people get that, but the longest journey
is the 18 inches from head to heart, and you’ve got to get it there
and commit to it. Believe in yourself and make it happen. It’s mostly
If you’re spending time on things that aren’t getting you interviews
and meetings, Mulcahy says, readjust. "If you’re trying things out,
great. But it’s got to lead somewhere. If something isn’t panning out,
let it go."
Direction "You need to be clear about what you want to do," says
Mulcahy. "You should be able to tell me in 60 seconds what you want to
do and what you can bring to an organization. The more specific you
get, the better."
This isn’t always easy to hear, he says. "It’s almost like steering
into a skid…you want to go the other way, but the more specific you
are, the easier it is for people to steer you to things you can do.
And that’s what employers want to know too: can you do the job? Are
you a good fit and will you make a difference?" You need to know that
If you don’t know what you want or where you’re heading now, there are
plenty of resources to help you figure that out. Mulcahy recommends
books such as "90 Days to a New Direction" by Montclair based
best-selling author and coach Laura Berman Fortgang. Jobseekers
support groups like the one at St. Gregory the Great, private
coaching, and career counseling can help also you rethink your next
Research "I used to tell my kids: you don’t make the rules, the
teacher does," Mulcahy says, and it’s the same with employers. Do your
homework. "Look at it from their point of view and plan to make a good
impression." Get online and find out about the company and be prepared
to talk about it.
Job history There’s no excuse for hemming and hawing about your job
history. Practice with friends if you must, and get their feedback.
How are you doing? Are you over-explaining or are you succinct in your
answers? Don’t go in to a meeting – any meeting – cold. "Someone who
has been out of a job for a while might be a little awkward," he says.
"If you’re prepared you’ll be more relaxed."
Believe "Believe in yourself. There might be three people out there
with a similar background, but you are unique," Mulcahy says. "If
you’re still asking ‘Can I do the job?’ when you go in for your
interview, you’re in trouble,’" he says. "You’ve got to be confident."
(This goes back to being prepared, he notes.) "They want to know if
you believe you can do the job. Don’t be arrogant, but you’ve got to
Focus The importance of focus can’t be overstated, says Mulcahy. "Be
confident in your accomplishments, keep moving, and adjust your
tactics as feedback comes in." The jobs are there, he says. "Open
yourself up," is his advice. "You might wind up in a smaller company
or a non-profit. And you might be used to a certain salary and perks,
but if you’re open, and you leverage your life experience, you may
find your perfect match."
– Deb Cooperman
Even if you first dipped your toes into the workaday world only 10
years ago, you are definitely swimming in different waters today.
There is the obvious: increase in necessary travel, global
competition, speed of communication. Time is sliced ever more thinly.
But along with these, business has moved from busy to frenetic,
creating an environmental shift within the corporate corridors. And if
you haven’t caught on to the new currents, you might very well find
yourself drifting farther behind.
Today, in any size company, the fear of termination and the hope for
promotion makes workers search for an advantage. They want to shine,
to rise above their main assigned tasks. But what to do? Helping
people out of timeworn ruts is the goal of Joni Daniels’ talk, "New
Habits for the Evolving Workplace: Old Dogs Must Learn New Tricks," on
Thursday, November 11, at 9 a.m. at Burlington County Community
College’s Enterprise Center. Cost: $156. Call 609-894-9331.
Daniels, author of "Power Tools for Women" and founder of
Philadelphia-based Daniels & Associates, has designed her course to
help both the new and veteran employee discern the changing business
climates that affect their success.
Daniels herself grew up in a world of constant transition. Her father,
a traveling salesman, moved his family all over the country,
presenting his daughter with new challenges in each neighborhood.
Finally coming to rest in Rochester, New York, Daniels graduated from
the State College of New York in l977 with a B.A. in English, followed
by a master’s in counseling. For the next decade her organizational
and training abilities carried her into management positions for
Independent Bancorp, CIGNA Corporation, the Sun Company, and Kulicke &
By l989 she found herself in Philadelphia facing, as she puts it, "a
list of jobs I could do in my sleep." So instead of such somnambulant
labor, Daniels teamed up with a friend and stepped gingerly into the
creation of a professional development consulting firm, Daniels &
Associates. It has boomed and today she leads training programs at the
Wharton School and at Temple University.
"People who have sat at the same desk for a decade are finding
themselves shocked now," says Daniels, "because a whole new range of
things are being asked of them." Some of these come as subtle nudges,
some as outright demands, but the messages are very clear.
@lt:Learn to speak Thousands of CEOs are investing millions
annually on communications coaches who tell them how to speak
professionally, concisely, and with a polished tone. They learn to
speak in sound bites, how to blend in stabbing statistics, and how to
how to present a point with the confidence that will keep stock prices
Yet polished, persuasive speech is not a tool for reserved for senior
executives. The current business atmosphere, with increased
communications networks, is making almost every employee a
representative of his company. Interpersonal skills are required to
clinch sales, provide customer service, keep employees content, and
keep the image of a competent company bright. But not everyone
rejoices in the prospect of enhanced public speaking.
"Talking with these people is not what I was hired for," is a common
complaint. "You mean I now have to be nice to people?" is another
query Daniels hears frequently rising from the hives of cubicle
dwellers. More and more companies are giving clients direct access to
all branches of technical personnel. They must deal face to face with
customers. Further, temporary project teams, which unite and disband,
have become necessary to keep firms flexible. All of these structural
innovations prevent the busy bee from hiding in his work. "Actually,
it’s always been true," says Daniels, "the better you can communicate,
the better your chances of moving ahead."
trends in American business in the last half of the 20th century was
the rise of professionalism. Corporations mushroomed and individual
workers were trained to become single cogs, performing a single task.
Now that nanofocus is out the window, and the multi-tasking worker is
Early on in Daniel’s own career the value of a Jack-of-all-trades
approach became poignantly apparent. Hired by Kulicke Soffa Industries
strictly as a training and development coach, she found herself
sticking her hand up to volunteer for all kinds of new interesting
projects and committees. She dabbled in marketing, employee relations,
Then came the axe. Kulicke Soffa went from a payroll of 1,200
employees to 500. "As a trainer and developer, I should have gone in
the first batch," says Daniels, "but they found they needed me for
transition and so many other tasks that I was involved in." The moral
to this tale is obvious: the better networked and involved you are
through your company, the greater is your value.
A caveat for the ladies: Daniels has noticed that women too frequently
need to feel, what she terms, "legitimized by rank." They tend to hold
back from joining a project if their official skills do not seem to
meet some imagined qualifications. Meanwhile, she finds that men tend
to be eager to get in on the action, and will instantly grab the
project folder and get on board. Perhaps each gender needs simply to
ask, would I enjoy this project? And could I bring anything to it?
Then step up.
for a goodly time now and I like the cut of your jib. I’d personally
like to take you under my wing and help you succeed in this firm."
This line was heard all the time in l940s movies, and was perhaps
uttered in actual offices in the decades that immediately followed.
But definitely not ever today. "No one is going to tap you on the
shoulder now," says Daniels. "Everyone is too busy to nurture new
In this sink or swim world of work, the new worker must find his own
mentors. They must be the agents who seek out a tutor and create their
own network of alliances. Keep in constant contact with those in and
beyond your department, advises Daniels, and be a provider – not just
recipient – of helpful information.
has changed, it shows no signs of catching its breath on a plateau.
Change will continue.
Interestingly, there is an urge in American culture to face all major
changes from downsizing to promotions by returning to school. New
situations require more education, we seem to think. Or maybe it’s
just a chance to hide out from the trauma of change until we figure
Daniels suggests a more on-the-fly approach to learning. "Change is
continuing, so the need is to keep current," she says. Make yourself
constantly aware of the new trends in your field and select the few
that will prove of value. Remember that business is a fickle mistress
who enthusiastically insists that every employee must learn this skill
this week and another the next. Take a deep breath and a long view.
Plan your career, and then choose education to match.
– Bart Jackson
"Women business owners need to understand why they should want to
impact public policy and how they can do that," says Robin Berg
Tabakin. Issues affecting women in business on both the state and
federal level run from zoning and regulations for home-based business
to obtaining more government contracts for women and minority
To learn more about the basics of state government, how it operates,
and how women can have an affect on it, the New Jersey Association of
Women Business Owners holds a Public Policy Day on Monday, November
15, at 8 a.m. at the State House Annex in Trenton. The event is titled
"Money, Power, Position: Women Changing the Landscape of Public
Policy." Cost: $50. To register, contact the NJAWBO office at
The day-long event includes practical advice for women business owners
who are interested in affecting the decisions made by state and
federal governments, says Tabakin, who wears a number of hats. She is
currently the president-elect of the NJAWBO state organization; prior
to that she acted as vice president of public affairs for the group.
She is a member of the board of trustees for Healthsense, a group that
advocates for better healthcare policies in New Jersey. She is also
owner of Technoforce a Randolph-based technical recruiting firm
specializing in E-commerce and technology companies. The company also
works particularly in the area of "recruiting and consulting for
Tabakin credits her work with NJAWBO’s public policy arm for the
direction her business has taken. "Because of my work with NJAWBO, I
became interested in consulting and working in the area of
procurement," she says. "I saw how often women are treated unfairly by
system. It is tough for women and minorities to get federal government
contracts. Male-owned businesses don’t face the same problems."
NJAWBO has held a Public Policy Day for several years to keep its
member business owners up-to-date on legislation affecting women in
business. "A few years ago, when the McGreevey administration first
came to power we focused on getting to know the new administration,"
Tabakin says. This year’s event will focus on exactly how women can
have an effect in government.
Keynote speaker Jeannie LaRue, senior vice president of public affairs
for St. Barnabas Health Care System, discusses how she became involved
in working with public policy. "Her story is a great example of how
her interests in government and legislation have shaped her career,"
Tabakin says. LaRue started her career as a teacher and became
involved in the New Jersey Education Association. Her interests in
government and politics eventually brought her to her current position
with St. Barnabas.
Following the keynote address, a panel discussion, "Why Get Involved .
. . Women Making a Difference," features Alison Little McHose, state
assemblywoman from district 24; Kristin Appelget, president of the
Princeton Area Regional Chamber of Commerce and a councilwoman of West
Windsor Township; and Sonia Delgado, senior associate of Princeton
Public Affairs Group.
Melanie Willoughby, senior vice president of legislative affairs with
the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, will end the day
with her talk on how to "Make Your Point Effectively and Get Things
A new feature for this year’s policy day is an "open mike" session
with state legislators. Over lunch, from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m., state
legislators have been invited to make a seven minute presentation on
"any issue that interests them," says Tabakin. At least five officials
have already asked for time to speak and more are expected sign up
over the next few days. Also during the lunch seed grants will be
awarded to 10 New Jersey women entrepreneurs. Susan Bass Levin of the
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs presents the grants.
There are several public policy issues that are now of great concern
to business owners, says Tabakin.
afford healthcare insurance," says Tabakin. "We are advocating for
association health plans. This is a concern at both the federal and
is the "permanent abolishment of estate tax," often called the "death
tax." The tax, which has caused any number of family businesses to be
sold when it comes due, is generally opposed by the business
center, which sponsors classes and assistance for small business
owners and entrepreneurs. The center is the only one of its kind in
the state of New Jersey. Funding for the center has been cut
drastically, and is a major issue.
levels, says Tabakin, is government contracts for women and
minority-owned business. "We need to hold the federal government
accountable for meeting its own goals in this area," says Tabakin,
"both through direct contracts and through sub-contracts with larger
The issue looms large at the state level also. New Jersey has done
away with set asides for contracts with women and minority businesses.
Tabakin hopes changes in state policy will be made when a new study on
the issue comes out in a few weeks.
local ordinances that prohibit or discriminate against home-based
businesses. NJAWBO advocates a state directive to reduce many of the
"restrictive and discriminatory local zoning practices."
first state in the U.S. to require employers of at least two employees
to offer paid family leave to employees with newborn or newly adopted
children," says Tabakin. Employees would also receive paid leave for
time spent with a sick child, parent or spouse. NJAWBO opposes the
paid leave because of its economic effect on many small businesses.
The largest, and oldest, statewide organization for women business
owners in the United States, NJAWBO has been active for 26 years; it
has almost 1,000 members. The group recently became a coalition member
of Women Impacting Public Policy. A bi-partisan organization with a
half million members, WIPP advocates for women on Capitol Hill. The
affiliation gives New Jersey women business owners more clout,
according to Tabakin, who says that "it is our national public policy
arm." NJAWBO is in the process of hiring a college intern to help
develop policy statements on issues of interest to the group.
Public Policy Day is an extension of NJAWBO’s political advocacy. "It
is a way for people to get involved on a grassroots level, to learn
how to make a difference," says Tabakin. "Because so many of our
legislatures and commissioners and other government officials will be
there it is an opportunity to meet with the people in Trenton who make
– Karen Hodges Miller
"The more powerful a person is, the less they talk and the more they
ask," says Dorothy Leeds, author of "The Seven Powers of Questions:
Secrets to Successful Communication in Life and Work."
"I want people to become askers, not tellers," she says. "I want them
to learn to harness that power of asking questions." In fact, says
Leeds, asking the right questions is one of most important tools in
good communications. Her book discusses how to use questions to
improve communication with family and within organizations, but most
important, how questions can help us to learn and grow as an
Leeds, who calls herself the "Questioning Crusader," speaks on the
topic at the next general membership meeting of the Greater Mercer
County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, November 16, at 11:30 a.m., at
the Nottingham Fire Company in Hamilton Square. Cost: $35. Call 609-
Here is Leeds’ view of the benefits of turning into a questioner:
the control to the asker. That is why politicians prepare longer for
press conferences than for any other type of appearance." Questions
give that control, because people feel they have to answer.
Workers in businesses of all kinds have already learned a lot about
the power of questions if they are also parents – or even aunts or
uncles. "Kids don’t respond to yes or no questions," says Leeds, "or
to questions that they feel put them of the spot." To get answers from
children, parents need to learn to ask questions in a non-threatening
way. "Give them your full attention" when asking questions, Leeds also
The same is true in the office. If you want the boss to consider your
request to be put on a top-priority project or to work from home on
Tuesdays, don’t back him into a corner.
One of the most often asked questions of children, and the one that is
answered the least is, "How was school today?" The question, says
Leeds, is too general. Instead, if a parent wishes to learn more about
a child’s day, there is a better way to go about it. "Phrase your
questions differently," she advises. "Try saying, ‘I had a lot of
really annoying things happen to me today. What was one stupid thing
that happened to you?’" This type of questions give the child an
opportunity to think about his or her day differently and also shows
them that parents, too, can have bad days.
In the office, don’t just ask your employees how a project is going,
and turn and walk away. Ask about the most challenging parts of the
project. Elicit details. Show that you are empathetic.
When asking a question, body language is just as important as the
words themselves, says Leeds. Body language can often show whether or
not the person asking the questions is really listening, or interested
in the answers. Sit down, take time, and ask follow-up questions.
about the world – through our eyes, by watching and reading, and
through listening and asking," says Leeds. Often, that information can
help us in any number of ways. Leeds give an example of asking the
right question at the right time that helped to save a client for her.
"One of my first clients called to cancel his appointment about a week
after he made it. I asked myself, ‘What one question can I ask him to
get him to change his mind.’ I said to him, ‘You were so excited about
this a week ago. What was it that made you so excited?’"
If Leeds had asked, "why did you change your mind?," it would have
given him a chance to focus on, and reinforce, all the negative
reasons." Instead, her question allowed her client to focus on what
had excited him in the first place. "Training our brains" to think
about – and ask – the right questions, is a skill that will allow us
to gain the knowledge and information we need.
thinking about questions, says Leeds. Ask questions in a way that
won’t antagonize the listener. "Soften your questions. Instead of,
‘Why did you do that?’ try, ‘I’m really interested in your decision.
What was the reasoning that led to your making it?’"
Leeds’ inquiring mind first led her to a number of colleges and
universities, and then to a number of careers. She attended
Northwestern University, spent a summer at the University of
Wisconsin, transferred to the University of Michigan, and finished her
bachelor’s degree at Adelphi in New York City. She also received a
master’s degree from Columbia University in New York.
Her career changes were directly related to the questions she asked
herself. Her first career was as a high school teacher in New York
City. "I didn’t last too long at that," she says. She moved on to
entertainment, appearing in "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off," on
Broadway, as well as acting in commercials and doing voice-overs. "I
did nothing major but I had a lot of fun. After awhile I asked myself,
‘Is this all?’" And a while she moved on from show business, she still
incorporates a lot of what she learned there in her speeches and
She became a knitwear manufacturer and at one point, "had 250 women in
Ireland knitting for me." But when the opportunity came to sell her
business, she asked herself, "Do I really want to do this the rest of
my life?" She sold the business and went into advertising. After
several years in advertising she was asked to do a seminar for the
American Management Association and eight years later wrote her first
book. "I love this career," says Leeds, "I get to travel and I get to
Her books have been published in 10 languages, and along with "Seven
Powers," include "Smart Questions: The Essential Strategy for
Successful Managers." It was written in 1987 and is still in print
today. "When it first came out, there were no other books on the
market on questions," Leeds says. Other books include "PowerSpeak:
Engage, Inspire, and Stimulate Your Audience," and "Marketing
Yourself, the Ultimate Job Seekers Guide."
Leeds’ varied careers have led to "so many job interviews," and that,
in turn, has led her to think about the interview strategy. When she
began to sprinkle her interviews with questions for her prospective
employers, she says, she began to get more job offers. "Asking the
interviewer a question when I first walked in gave me time to get
settled and get over being nervous," she explains.
Other questions help to clarify exactly what the interviewer is
looking for. "One of the questions asked most often in job interviews,
is, ‘Tell me about yourself,’" says Leeds. One way to clarify that
question is to say, "There is so much I can tell you. What would you
like me to focus on?" This type of question lets you target exactly
what the interviewer is looking for and answer in a way that is most
helpful to both of you.
"All thinking is stimulated by questions. Nothing changes unless we
begin to think differently." A salesperson, for instance, must
persuade a customer to change the way he thinks before he can make a
sale, she says.
Good questions, she adds, are always "a win/win situation" for both
the person asking and the person answering. "Why do we hate
telemarketers? Because they ask canned, boring and uncaring questions.
We need to ask interesting, caring questions."
Those interesting and caring questions can stimulate us to grow. Says
Leeds, "Nothing has been invented or created in this world without
someone asking questions."
– Karen Hodges Miller
Every employer loves the workaholic. He staggers in early, slaves late
and never seems to have a conflict with his personal life – if indeed
he has one. Silently, the water cooler sages fantasize about his
breaking down, screaming, and running amok through the corridors. They
mumble among themselves, "that man needs some balance in his life."
In fact, some of these belligerently mono-focused creatures do burn
and crash. Others labor serenely on with a devotion and contentment
the rest of us find puzzling. In a land where the average worker puts
in over 2,200 hours annually (more than Japan, Germany, or any other
nation), America’s workers could do with a little perspective.
Providing a look at whether it is possible to blend a little fun into
life, and still be effective on the job, is "The Balanced Leader: Not
an Oxymoron," a talk scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, at 6 p.m. at
the Raddison hotel in Princeton. Cost: $37. Call 908-281-9234 or visit
www.CJWN.com. Sponsored by the Central Jersey Women’s Network, this
event features Janet Neal, founder of the Productivity Resource Group,
a Montclair-based human resource consultant.
The spectre of burnout has traditionally haunted both of Neal’s chosen
careers. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Neal graduated from the
University of Michigan in l976. Her B.A. in education led to an
elementary teaching career. Later she bolstered her instructive skills
with an M.A. in student personnel from the University of Vermont and
taught high school. "Kids are hard," Neal says. "There is a cycle to
teaching that really wears down the enthusiasm."
Looking for a new challenge, Neal went to work for IBM’s high pressure
sales and marketing department. Here also initially energetic
employees all too frequently fell to exhaustion. Seeing the need, Neal
began a work/life balance seminar for the IBM’s New Jersey plants.
After l9 years she brought her motivational skills to Sentrix as vice
president of sales and marketing. Two years ago she founded the
Productivity Resource Group.
"The term ‘balance’ has now become become a cliche – an analogy for
time management," remarks Neal. "Instead, I see balance as a state of
being that blends all the interests of one’s life."
life is not worth living. Take a look at our workaholic. He may be
burning the midnight monitor because doing so is supremely satisfying.
He is progressing, succeeding, completing projects, and basking in the
glow of jobs well done. This may be his niche.
On the other hand, our workaholic may be ducking back into his office
because work is, after all, easier than life. If he arrives home to
find his daughter drooling over a multi-pierced boyfriend with a "More
Teen Pregnancies" tattoo, while his son swears he was just holding
those drugs for a friend, the warm flourescent glow of his office can
seem very cozy.
Neal insists that all workers must employ the tool of awareness.
Whether you are Neal insists that all workers must employ the tool of
awareness. Whether you are ducking work at the office, or people on or
off the job, examine why you act; how your needs are not being met.
There is a certain fear inherent in this personal archeology: you may
not always like what you unearth. But a little self-knowledge is
necessary for the leader to establish his own goals.
values. What would stimulate you to be passionate about your job?
About life at home? Are you getting that stimulation in both arenas?
Almost definitely you will find yourself passionate about more than
one thing. Humans are complex beings, taking shades of delight in
pieces of this job, that sport, this time with my family.
Yet through all these passions will come a the core of belief – one’s
values. You value your children’s upbringing. It is to their benefit
and yours that much time be spent together. Note that is not a
priority. It is not a comparison of my kids versus my career. It is
merely a statement of belief that will guide you toward balanced
or head of the company, you are a role model. Employees infer and
reflect the values you express. "If your staff sees you coming in
early and leaving early so you can attend your child’s school play,
they will feel that is part of your values, and their company’s way of
doing business," says Neal.
However, that striving for personal balance must go beyond your own
shining example. As an executive, you must encourage employees to make
their own choices – analytically and responsibly. This means allowing
workers to handle their workloads in a way that allows them the
freedom to nourish their relationships and outside interests.
say, but when you leave the Shangri-La of balanced living, don’t
forget there lurks a real world out there with corporate expectations
and familial demands. Daily we catch hints, subtle and not so, that we
should choose. "Prioritize your life," is the call. Select which is
more important to you. At this point, the mother/employee finds
herself urged to show her true values by opting for one and ignoring
the other facet of her life.
"Simply, life need not function that way," says Neal. Pressures mount
when we transform a decision into a monument of allegiance. "I will
spend this afternoon with my wife because my family is more
important!" a time-pressured executive might declare. Instead of
comparing, defending, and forever fixing some permanent priority
ranking, try announcing merely that you are going to your wife’s
concert this afternoon. Then, next week tell your family that you are
sorry to be late for supper but this fascinating new project needs to
In a very brief time, folks around you will infer your values. They
will probably view you as a person less hemmed-in by obligations than
savoring all of life. You won’t fit a mold. But you may just find
yourself inadvertently providing that role model of balanced
leadership so much needed in our business world today.
– Bart Jackson
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $4
million in three biomedical research grants to partnerships involving
institutes and centers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).
NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni noted that "we have made remarkable
progress in medical research in recent decades, and NIH-led research
has changed the landscape of many diseases," Zerhouni said. "However,
very real – and very urgent – needs remain. NIH is now drawing all
fields of science together in a concerted effort to meet these
One of the new grants was awarded to a group of 34 Rutgers and UMDNJ
faculty members from the BioMaPS (Biological, Mathematical, and
Physical Sciences interfaces) Institute for Quantitative Biology; the
Cancer Institute of New Jersey; the Northeast Structural Genomics
Consortium (NESG); and the Research Collaboratory for Structural
Bioinformatics/Protein Data Bank (PDB). Two million dollars over five
years will support the training of graduate students and post-doctoral
fellows in the new, interdisciplinary field of proteomics – the study
of the ever-changing complement of proteins that direct the activities
of living cells.
Principal investigator Ronald Levy, co-director of the BioMaPS
Institute, and co-principal investigators Gaetano Montelione, director
of the NESG, and Helen Berman, director of the PDB, along with other
faculty members, will be involved in administering the training grant.
The grant will be based at the BioMaPS Institute.
Wilma Olson, Mary I. Bunting Professor of Chemistry, and BioMaPS
Administrative Director Paul Ehrlich won a $445,000 "NIH Roadmap"
grant for a joint effort of the Institute and the Center for Molecular
Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. The centerpiece of this
initiative is developing short courses to foster interdisciplinary
research. Students in quantitative fields, such as mathematics and
physics, will receive an in-depth introduction to a topic in biology
that should prepare them for collaborating with researchers and ease
their entry into other biological fields. The course also provides
material for the BioMaPS website and the curriculum for a
semester-length course taught by Olson and Ehrlich.
The third grant will be used to address the computational challenges
in the study of large molecular complexes that form the machinery
responsible for most biological processes. The study of these
molecular machines is particularly relevant to understanding many
diseases, such as cancer and metabolic disorders.
ThevirtualComputational Center for Biomolecular Complexes, a
multicenter research initiative, is receiving a $1.85 million NIH
Roadmap in funding to support this work.
The center brings together scientists from a variety of fields and
involves collaborators from Rutgers, Baylor College of Medicine, the
Scripps Research Institute and the University of Texas at Austin. Team
leader Helen Berman will utilize her experience managing the PDB to
develop new computational systems and tools.
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