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Laura J. Lieff

Specializing in Expert Service

My Blog

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The Importance of Honesty in Relationships

Posted on January 28, 2018 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (352)
People of all ages are in the dating pool. If you're a woman, you might be tempted to fudge some of your stats as, approximately, one-third to two-fifths of the male population is looking for younger, thin women. If you're a man, you might be tempted to fudge your financial stats or education credentials. Both genders might post pictures of themselves, on dating websites, that are 10 - 20 years old.

All of this posturing and misrepresentation is a recipe for disaster as you won't look like your picture and, if you're not well-educated, your writing and speech will give you away. Most people don't appreciate being lied to and many will end the date before you have a chance to impress them with your scintillating personality.

In dating, it's always better to be honest. There is no charade that can be kept up indefinitely and a relationship that is built on lies is a relationship that won't last. We all have our quirks and imperfections and should focus on those who like and love us because of or despite those quirks and imperfections.

Honesty is just as important after marriage. If you behave one way before marriage and change your behavior, dramatically, after marriage, your spouse is likely to become a very unhappy camper. Many divorces have been caused by people who pretended to be someone else before marriage and who revealed their true personalities, characters, and behavior after marriage.

If your self-esteem is shaky or if you're a compulsive liar, you're better off going into therapy than pretending to be someone else. If all you care about is short-term results, you can fool some people, but that won't bring you any happiness unless you're a psychopath or sociopath. 

The best relationships are those between people who value and practice love, friendship, honesty, trust, and communication. Until you're ready to practice these concepts, you might be better off remaining in the dating pool.

Going with the Flow

Posted on November 23, 2017 at 11:04 PM Comments comments (434)
In the hurried pace at which many of us live, we often forget to take time to smell the roses. I know that I do. Thanksgiving Day is a difficult day for many of us as it brings back memories of departed loved ones with whom we used to celebrate the day and it can bring forth thoughts of those with whom we'd like to share the day but, for any of a number of reasons, can't.

There isn't only one way to handle melancholic feelings. This morning, I chose to do something that I haven't done in too long a time: I listened to music that I love.

Although I'm dating myself by saying who one of my all-time favorite ballad singers is, I must admit that I can't resist listening to Johnny Mathis sing songs like "Begin the Beguine", "Misty", "How Do You Keep the Music Playing", "Too Much Too Little Too Late" and many others. Music absolutely stirs my emotions. For example, I can never listen to "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" without crying. It's an astoundingly beautiful song with meaningful lyrics and, if you've never heard it, I suggest you go to You Tube and download Johnny Mathis' version of the song. You won't be sorry. On the other end of the spectrum, Pharrell Williams' "Happy" always has its intended effect on me, which is to make me feel happy. A couple of years ago, I went to a jazz performance with a friend. As I love jazz and as I especially enjoyed the arrangements the musicians performed, I told my friend that listening to jazz transports me. I wasn't exaggerating.

There is nothing wrong with allowing ourselves to feel all of our emotions, even the more unpleasant ones. That means, of course, that sometimes we can feel melancholic or nostalgic. For me, it's both soothing and cathartic to listen to music that reflects my mood. For some, it's fine art; for others, it's dance. Any of the arts, nature, sports, food, etc., can transport us.

Sometimes it's best to just go with the flow until the mood passes. While you're going with the flow, why not immerse yourself in your favorite music?

Since it's still Thanksgiving Day, for those of you who mistakenly think that you have nothing to be thankful for, I have something for you: BE THANKFUL THAT YOU WEREN'T BORN A TURKEY!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thank You So Much for Your Support

Posted on November 7, 2017 at 8:39 AM Comments comments (253)
Although I might not respond to your comments about my blog, promptly, it's not because I don't want to: it's because there are only so many hours in the day and, at the end of the day, I need some r&r before going to sleep. I work hard for my money....wasn't there a song, "She works hard for her money"? 

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your very flattering comments about my writing, my content, how much you relate to what I write, etc. Hearing how much you enjoy my blog posts makes writing them worthwhile, even when I struggle to come up with a topic of interest.

Please don't think that I'm ungrateful if you don't hear back from me promptly. I'm sure that you have the same problem that I have: too much to do and too little time in which to do it.

Thank you so much for your support. I appreciate it much more than you might think.

Sincerely,
Laura

Good Relationships Require Work

Posted on October 6, 2017 at 4:54 PM Comments comments (174)
Most of us have experienced what I'll refer to as lopsided relationships. These are friendships or romantic relationships in which one person is doing most of the pursuing, i.e., making most of the phone calls or doing most of the emailing or texting; giving more of his or her time, money, understanding, transparency; in short, showing more interest than the other party. These friendships or romantic relationships are not good relationships as, in order for a relationship to work, there needs to be a give and take with both people doing equal amounts of giving and taking. When this equality is lacking, if the one who is doing all or most of the giving has any brains and is together, emotionally, he or she will, ultimately, lose interest in the relationship. Needless to say, there are times in any relationship when one person does more of the giving or taking, however, this should not be the overall theme of the relationship. If you're doing most or all of the giving or pursuing, you'll tire of this and come to the realization that the friendship or relationship isn't fulfilling your needs and you'll, most likely, move on, as you should. Some people assume that once they've established a relationship, they no longer have to work at it. These people don't truly understand the nature of a good relationship. If you want to keep a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend, you need to do the work that is required to keep the relationship going in the same way that you would do the work that is required to keep a business relationship going. I realize that this might sound like too much work and not enough fun, but, no matter how compatible two people are, there will be occasional differences that arise and that have to be worked out to the satisfaction of both people. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should never take people who are important to you for granted. The person who feels that he or she is being taken for granted will build up resentment and will, probably, distance him- or herself from you. You might not even realize that this is happening as you're so wrapped up in your own needs and interests that you don't notice that your friend, lover, husband, or wife has checked out emotionally. The relationship is in trouble and you don't even know it!

My advice to you is to think about why this person has distanced him- or herself from you and the part that you've played in the current situation. The next order of business, so to speak, is to correct the problem before it's too late. Most people want to feel appreciated for their efforts and their interest and if you fail to do that, you're on the way to losing someone who is or has been important to you. Once this loss occurs, you probably won't be able to regain the relationship in a way that satisfies your needs as the person will have, for all intents and purposes, moved on. My experience has shown me that good people are hard to find. Be smart: be present, be thoughtful, be giving and be genuinely interested in your relationships so that you don't find yourself without those relationships that you value and that have sustained you. If you do the work that is required, you will, most likely, be glad that you did.

Make an Informed Decision

Posted on September 4, 2017 at 5:42 PM Comments comments (693)
Some people are skilled at getting job offers and, therefore, think nothing of starting, yet, another job search that could have been avoided if they had taken the time to research the company that extended them an offer, found out exactly what the position entails, learned as much as possible about the person or people to whom they'll be reporting, discovered why the position has become available, asked to speak with people at the company who have the same or a similar position, and requested the contact information of a couple or, at least, one of the people who had the position, but left the company or moved to another position within the company. I understand that this sounds excessive and am not suggesting that you do all of this before your first interview. What I am recommending is that you don't accept a new position without doing your due diligence.

The reason that I think that it's important to make an informed decision is that, generally-speaking, potential employers aren't impressed by candidates who change jobs every year or two. If they have a choice between a "job-hopper" and someone who has shown more work stability, all things being equal, they'll choose the candidate who is more likely to stay with them for, at least, several years.

Before even going on your first interview, you should have researched the company online and it doesn't hurt to talk with a couple of people whom you know who work at the company. Admittedly, there are very few companies about which everyone has only positive things to say, however, if you hear the same negative comments from, at least, three people who you think are trustworthy, you need to take the comments seriously. You can also look for online reviews about a company, however, you need to take these reviews with a grain of salt as you don't know anything about the people who wrote the reviews.

Before going on your first interview, you should have researched the people with whom you'll be interviewing, assuming that you know all of their names. (Sometimes, if you do really well on an interview with the first person you meet, you'll be introduced to some other people at the company and, since you can't plan for this, you just have to go with the flow.) If you're told that he or she would like you to come back to meet with other people, do your best to get the names of the people with whom you'll be meeting so that you can check them out online. (In most cases, you should be able to get this information the day before the interview if the first interviewer doesn't know exactly with whom you'll be meeting on your second interview.) Very few people business people don't have Linkedin profiles and some of them have Facebook and Twitter profiles as well. Some people reveal more about themselves than others but, at least, you'll find out the interviewers' past work experience, education, groups, and charities or causes that interest them. You might even find that you have some common interests. If you can't research the people before meeting with them, check out the photos in their offices. If, for example, the person is an avid golfer, sailor, etc., he or she is likely to have one or two, or more, photos of that sport.

Since you are, also, interviewing the person or people with whom you'll be working, even during your first interview, at the end of the interview, when the interviewer asks you whether you have any questions, one of the questions that you should ask is "How would you describe what it's like to work for you?" or "What is your management style?" 

Once you get a job offer, you can ask to speak to one or two potential colleagues at the company and ask for contact information for a couple of people who have left the company and someone who had the position previously. Sometimes people leave companies for benign reasons, i.e., they're moving to a distant location, they've decided to go back to school, they realize that it isn't the right career for them, etc. It's better to communicate with these people by telephone than it is to communicate by email as you're more likely to uncover the truth by telephone.

The final decision regarding whether to accept an offer should be made by your gut. If you sense that your potential employer is someone with whom you won't enjoy interacting, don't accept the offer. If the work that you'll be doing doesn't interest you or if it's something that you don't think that you're that good at, don't accept the offer.

Admittedly, you might have done your due diligence and find that the position is very different from the way that it was represented to you; the person who hired you leaves and is replaced by someone who is very difficult to work with; you like the position, initially, but, in time, it changes and you don't like it anymore; etc. These things happen and, if you had done your due diligence, you are not, at all, at fault.

The scenario that I described in this post applies, primarily, to people who get into the job market because they're not that happy with their current positions. It applies, only to a lesser extent, to people who are out of work and who are not independently wealthy or being supported by someone else. In that case, people should still do what they feel is appropriate due diligence, however, it is understandable if they accept an offer that isn't up to snuff and continue to look for an offer that is.

Hard Work Brings Serendipity

Posted on July 20, 2017 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (167)
A while back, my chiropractor asked me how I get clients. My response was "Serendipity". That's only partially true though. 

If you work hard marketing, networking, getting the word out about your company any way you know how, serendipity kicks in. For example, I sent marketing letters to big-firm attorneys for a year. I didn't get much work from my efforts: two attorneys hired me for errands and another attorney hired me to get a famous artist's signature on his book at a book signing. I did, however, reconnect with a lovely attorney whom I had placed a long time ago, when he was an associate, and who has, since, become a very successful department head at an international law firm. This appreciative contact of mine was kind enough to introduce me to a potential client who, in turn, was thoughtful enough to invite me to a few events where I could meet potential clients. Last year, an attorney for whom I didn't do any work, but with whom I had spoken, a couple of times, referred someone who works with her to me for my medical escorting services. I am certain that if/when this medical escorting client needs this kind of service, again, she will contact me as my other medical escorting clients have hired me more than once. 

Another way that I've gotten clients is through a professional network to which I belong. I did a resume for a fellow member's daughter, a Linkedin profile for another member, and was hired, by a third member, for a part-time job as an assistant recruiter for a Fortune 100 company. I've made some wonderful connections through my networking activities: two of whom I've hired for part-time work and one of whom has become a personal friend.

My chiropractor, an angel, has given out my business cards to clients of his who could benefit from my services and, although I haven't, as yet, gotten any clients from his efforts, one of these days, it's bound to happen.

I also keep my eyes open for all kinds of opportunities that interest me. Whether it's volunteering at a golf tournament held at a local country club or doing much less glamorous work, I'm available and willing to do it.

I'm more fortunate than many in that my company provides wide-ranging services, but that's not the point. A small business owner has to view every interaction that he has as a possible business opportunity. He needs to be professional, responsive, kind and caring, especially in my business, so that people will want to hire him. He also has to be good at whatever he's hired to do and be willing to go the extra mile for his clients. Clients have long memories for service providers who have provided more than what they expected.

I don't really believe in luck. I believe that if you work hard and smart, you "get lucky". 

People like to hire service people and professionals who are talented, reliable, warm, sincere, trustworthy, and honest. If you're good at what you do and if you possess the aforementioned qualities, the word, eventually, gets out and other people will hire you.

All of this doesn't happen overnight: it takes time and patience. If you put in the effort and have a positive attitude, the clients will come and it will seem to be serendipitous.

The High Maintenance Woman

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (187)
You don't have to be a man to dislike the high maintenance woman. I dislike her too. The high maintenance woman expects you to go out of your way to fulfill her needs. She can be retired and you can be running a business and, when you try to make plans with her, she can give you instructions as to what subway line the restaurant should be near. If you're smart, you'll tell her to choose the restaurant. If she can't take the time to take care of her own needs, it's not your job to pick up the slack.You can be a nice person without being a doormat. This very situation happened to me recently. I'm always busy working at something and a woman whom I knew from school days seemed to want to get together with me, however, she expected me to do all the work regarding making plans. She's retired and has much more free time than I. When I made it her responsibility to choose the restaurant, she was offended as she expected me to "share" in the burden of finding a restaurant that was convenient for her. I don't have the time for high maintenance women.

I am one of the most considerate people I know. It's astounding to me how inconsiderate most people are. Think about the people who walk in the streets of Manhattan, for example. I can't tell you how often a stranger in the street has coughed or sneezed right in my face while passing me. But, I digress. I started this discussion regarding the high maintenance woman. Many years ago, I started to become friendly with a woman whom I had known for many years. We were trying to make plans to go to a movie and I chose 5 movies, all different from each other, and asked her to select one of them. She didn't like any of my choices! She also didn't like any of my restaurant choices. This friendship never got off the ground.

The high maintenance woman is, frequently, a lonely woman because most people aren't interested in treating their friends as if their friends are clients. Most people don't enjoy being with women who have a sense of entitlement. These women probably aren't aware of how spoiled they are because most people will disappear from them without explaining why. If you see yourself in the portrait that I painted, here, you might want to change your behavior towards others and try to become less demanding. We all have enough on our plates without having to cater to you as well.

Why I Like and Use Linkedin ProFinder

Posted on March 10, 2017 at 8:51 AM Comments comments (163)
I don't know about you, but when the weather is spring-like, I sometimes have trouble focusing on work. I want to go for long walks, listen to the birds chirping, watch the tulips push their way slowly but steadily into sight, and hear the squeals of delight from toddlers and little children enjoying themselves in the park.

That's what I want to do. What I actually do is control my desire to be outside, playing, and concentrate on work.

I use a few platforms to quote on projects. These days, my favorite platform is LInkedin ProFinder, a.k.a., LIPF, at least, for purposes of this post.

I like LIPF because it's well-priced, it's affiliated with a professional platform that people trust, it offers the information about the potential client that I need, and it notifies me when a new project is available. I receive, approximately, 80 projects a month to quote on for a fee of $65.31/month, including tax. I quote on almost all of the projects that I receive. As I am, typically, competing against 4 other service providers, on this platform, my chances of being hired are only 20%, but my chances, to date, are no better on any other platform that I use to quote on projects.

So far, I've observed that, as a group, the clients who have hired me from LIPF have been a bit nicer than the clients with whom I've worked from other platforms, but I wouldn't read too much into this as, to date, I've worked with more clients from another platform. My experience has been pretty similar with the two platforms that I use most frequently in terms of the number of projects for which I'm hired. The major difference is that I spent a small fortune, last year, quoting on projects on the other platform. A service provider who provides a very useful service has a lot of competition and my experience has been that you have to quote on a lot of projects to be hired, even if you write a good note and your fee is competitive.

At first, I was both surprised and disappointed by the ROI that I was experiencing, more on the other platform than on LIPF, but I eventually came to realize that despite the fact that my credentials and experience for the primary service that I provide are stellar, possibly superior to those of my competitors, some potential clients might be intimidated by that and others might have a habit of considering price over quality when hiring service providers. My fee is mid-range: I purposely price my services to be fair to my clients and to myself. When a potential client is looking for an experienced and well-trained person in my field of expertise and understands how important a high-quality resume is to a search for a new position, he or she is more likely to hire me. I, also, factor into the equation the fact that not everyone makes good or smart hiring decisions. Finally, based on my informal market research on the other platform with which I have a lot of experience, there are other service providers in my field who make outrageous promises, something that I categorically refuse to do as I'm honest and sincere in my approach to business and, in fact, in my approach to everything.

Long story a little shorter, if you only have a finite amount of time and/or money to quote on projects or if you would rather concentrate on one platform, Linkedin ProFinder is the platform for you as you'll get "more bang for your buck" and for the other reasons that I indicated previously in this post.

Show Your Love (A Repost of Feb. 14, 2014 Blog Post)

Posted on February 14, 2017 at 10:31 AM Comments comments (458)
It's Valentine's Day and it's the perfect opportunity to show the people you love how you feel about them. I'm not just referring to your husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and children. I'm also referring to your parents, friends, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and, if they're still alive, Grandma and Grandpa: ESPECIALLY Grandma and Grandpa and especially if one has lost the other.

Valentine's Day can be lovely for those who have someone to love, but it's not such a picnic for those who don't. So, why not share your loving feelings with the people you love who would really appreciate a card, a phone call, an email, a box of chocolates, flowers, or whatever you can think of that gets the message across that he, she, or they are loved and thought of on the day that isn't only for lovers, but is only for LOVE.

Don't you agree?

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO ALL!

Always Be Available

Posted on January 23, 2017 at 3:48 PM Comments comments (197)
Anyone who is a small business owner or a professional will tell you that he has a lot of competition. It's true. There are many ways to distinguish oneself from one's competition, however, one of the best ways is to be available 24/7. I can hear the pushback and it's deafening! "Nobody should have to work 24/7!" "Are you crazy?" "Aren't I entitled to have a life?"

I'm not saying that you should work 24/7: I'm saying that you should be available 24/7. To be more specific, I'm saying that you should be available, anytime, for your good, long-term clients.

This is not an easy thing to do as everyone needs some r&r (rest and relaxation). However, there are a few ways that you can do this without feeling resentful or put-upon. One way is to charge more for off-hours, weekend, and holiday services. Another way is to take time off to make up for the r&r that you missed by being available 24/7. A third way is to have a reliable backup person in place.

If your long-term clients know that you'll be there for them when they need you, they are very unlikely to replace you with one of your competitors. Loyalty is a two-way street. The more you are willing to put yourself out for your clients, the fewer reasons they'll have to shop around. You will also earn a reputation for being a service provider who truly goes the extra mile for his clients.

Good, long-term clients are not that easy to come by. It makes sense to go out of your way to accommodate them.

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