Breaking Bad…Habits

I’m a nail biter.  Well, a nail picker, actually.  And I can count on one stubby-nailed hand the times I’ve grown my fingernails out in my 47 years on this earth.  I keep my nail guy happy because I even pick off the nails he glues on.  But this month, a friend and I decided to give up our addictions.  Well, most of them.  No one is touching my addiction to Netflix.  I’m not ready for that yet.  She’s tackling smoking.  I’m tackling several, including nail biting.

And here we are, halfway through the month, and I have actually let the things grow.

It hasn’t even been hard.  All it required was my being conscious of the habit and not mindlessly engaging in it.  The first few days, I noticed I would start picking when I was in deep thought, or when I was bored.  My office buddies were prepared to shoot me with a water gun or make me do squats if they caught me, but honestly, I caught myself.  And chose not to do it.

I’m not suggesting abandoning every bad habit is that simple.  But it probably starts with the very same exercise in consciousness.  And as much as I hate those articles on the internet that give you “Three simple steps to change your life,” or “The eight things you never want to do in a job interview,” this really does lend itself to some simple steps.

  1.  Identify the bad habit, and why you want to stop doing it.  I have ugly hands with chewed on fingernails, unless I want to waste money at the nail salon to have pretty nails for a little while, until I pick those off, too.  But I’d like to have nicely manicured hands.
  2. Set a time goal for yourself to kick the habit.  “They” say if you keep something up for at least three weeks, you’ve created a habit.  Or in this case, kicked one.  We chose the whole month because keeping track of our success on a handy dandy monthly calendar was easy.  Each day we get through without reverting to bad habits, we get to mark off a day.  So far, all my days are marked off.
  3. Pay attention to what makes you engage in the bad habit.  For me, boredom mostly. Stress sometimes.  I’m definitely more of a stress eater, which is the reason I also gave up snacking between meals this month.  Write them down if that helps you to recognize them.  There are patterns to uncover if you’re being mindful.
  4. Understand that your triggers will still be there after you give in to the bad habit.  My girlfriend who is quitting smoking had an epiphany about cigarettes this month:  she has stress, as we all do, but she can survive her stress without her cigarettes.  Smoking didn’t eliminate the stress she felt.  It was still there when she finished the cigarette.  Using our bad habits as crutches doesn’t make life’s struggles any easier.  Instead, you still have whatever triggered your bad habit, plus the baggage the bad habit brings.  In my case, ugly hands or extra pounds.  In hers, potential health problems from smoking.
  5. The next step is just stop.  And that’s certainly easier said than done for some habits.  Some require professional help, and I’m not a professional trained to give that help.  But there are plenty of resources available to get that help, no matter the bad habit you’re trying to kick.  If you’re committed to quitting, you’ll find the help you need to do it, whether it’s a friend armed with a water gun, a self-help book, meditation, a professional counselor, group therapy, or some combination of the above.

It sounds simple.  And steps one through four really are.  You can do those on your own, today.  Step five is where the work is, but if you’ve committed to breaking a bad habit, don’t give up at the last step.  If you feel like giving up, go back and review steps one through four again.

Now, what does quitting nail biting have to do with recruiting, or work in general?  Nothing, really, but the formula can be used for any bad habit, like spending too much time at work daydreaming of swinging in a hammock on the beach, posting to your SnapChat story, avoiding a big project you know is going to be really tough, or fighting with a challenging coworker.

I’ve got two weeks left in my May Addiction Challenge, and after growing my nails out and quitting all my mindless snacking, I can’t wait to see what bad habits I can tackle in June.

April Producer of the Month

Congratulations to Executive Partner Claire Spence, Joseph Chris Partners Producer of the Month for April! 

April Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Senior Recruiter, Liz Powell, for being chosen as April’s Employee of the Month here at Joseph Chris Partners! Liz Powell


When you ask Google “How to Write a Resume?”, within 0.50 seconds you will have 310,000,000 resources at your fingertips to confuse you even more. Over my almost 6 years with Joseph Chris Partners as a Senior Recruiter I have been able to narrow down the answer to one very simple question. “What are your bonuses, pay raises, and promotions based on?”

Think back to your last job performance review or evaluation.  Those successes are what you want to highlight in your resume. How do you compare to your peers and colleagues in similar roles? What makes you stand out?  If you were a cashier at your local grocery store would you describe your position as “I scan groceries for prices and collect payments from customers” or would you say “Compared to the average cashier, I have the fastest lines in the store, moving 50% more customers through the lines”?


This is an actual email I sent to a candidate who had all the experience my client was looking for in an employee, but his resume read like a boring job description.  Some information has been changed to protect the candidate’s identity.

[Candidate], I’m going to give you some constructive criticism.  Your resume does not serve you justice.  Remember all the specific numbers and projects you mentioned in our phone call?  Those should be mentioned in your resume. Hiring Managers like to see numbers and measurable data rather than an interpretation of your job description.  It’s common knowledge in the industry what a Production Manager does. They want to see what made you exceptional at your job. What did you do that was above and beyond what an average Production Manager would do? Numbers, volume, special assignments, etc. are the things that make the Hiring Manager say “I need to interview this candidate ASAP”.

Imagine if you ran into your favorite High School teacher today and was excited to tell them about all the things you have accomplished so far in your career.  Would you tell them that you “lead budget review meetings with clients” or would you tell them you worked for a large public home builder who was pushing out 3000 homes a year, and you were responsible for organizing all their processes during the buyout in a new major city?

Being able to paint a picture of your measurable successes in your job performance makes the hiring manager more excited to call you back and learn more about how you may benefit their company.

Now go rewrite your resume then send it to me so I can help you climb the corporate ladder and earn more money!

How do you feel about E.Q.?

It is my job to talk with folks who plan, develop, build, and design for a living.  The other day I was talking to a candidate who shared more about his personality then about his success in completing projects on time and under budget.  He led in with his “emotional intelligence” scores and how he measured his success from understanding his strengths – emotionally.  As a recruiter, I find these conversations most intriguing.

Personality tests in the work place are not new.  In my experience, I have been measured by Meyers Brigg, Strengthfinders, Enneagram, and DISC to name a few.  I may or may not be a willing participant in skewing the outcome of such tests. After all, if I know this is a pre-employment evaluation for a sales role, my answers may be more aggressive in my desire to make a buck so as to appeal to the hiring powers.

One question I like to ask candidates is what you can say about yourself that a LinkedIn Profile or resume does not show?  I rarely get answers that relate to a high-end project that is not on the list, or how much money was made at Company X .  They don’t share what they did, they share who they are and how they want to be perceived.  I notice a positive inflection in their voice when they can share a personal attribute instead of a work-related accomplishment.

e·mo·tion·al in·tel·li·gence (EQ)


  1. the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

“Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.”

So, is this EQ a solid and trustworthy benchmark when determining a good fit with your organization?  I am not sure I am completely convinced it is a good thing, but I do value the intent of being sensitive to this dynamic After all, we have a whole new generation who are in position to take over senior leadership in many organizations.  My future boss may want to know how I feel about that.

So, is EQ a measure all on its own, or should it be used in conjunction with other personality type tests?

I researched a bit about the topic and noted a dark side of EQ measurement. I found that being vulnerable and sharing one’s emotional vulnerability can lead to social manipulation.  At work, we often measure success by achievement.  Many times, competition and manipulation become a means at which we gain a place at the top.  Are we measuring ourselves strong against the nice guy or the shy girl?  Are people to be used as tools to push around or perhaps certain people will use their soft side as an excuse not to succeed? Hmmm.

It may be a bit too soon and presumptuous of me assume how much EQ will be implemented in the workplace, however, I can say that knowing our own emotional intelligence and that of those we associate with is a key component in relationships.  And after all, isn’t everything about our relationships?


More Lessons from Dad

Dad’s lessons continue..

Last time I wrote about one of Dad’s lessons. It was about the importance of doing your homework, being prepared, and how you can benefit from working a little harder and knowing a little more than the other guy. It was one of many lessons my dad taught me.

My dad was a proud marine, a classical pianist, sailboat racer and father to five sons. He was a leader. I’d like to share a few lessons he taught his sons that apply to our work, our lives, and how we are perceived by others. Things he taught us were necessary to be a good leader.

1. Integrity matters. As a kid we learned about this when we were asked if we did our chores. Lying always turned out to be a bad idea.  Do the right thing when no one is looking. Always be honest and truthful in everything you say and do. It doesn’t matter who your connections are or what your experience is, you can’t be a good leader if you are untrustworthy or devious. How did you learn you learn about integrity?

Set yourself up to be a good leader in advance. Embrace integrity. Good leaders don’t lie.

2. Take initiative. I remember dad saying; “don’t wait until I tell you to cut the grass. If it needs cutting, cut it,” or, “if it breaks, fix it.” It didn’t matter if we did it the right way or made a mistake trying, we were always praised for taking action. Even if we got it wrong.

When problems pop up at work, don’t hesitate to work around them to get the job done. Take action, don’t waste time, push yourself, have moxie and set the example. That’s what leaders do.

3. Have courage. Dad showed us there is Moral courage and Physical courage. Moral courage is having the inner strength to do the right thing and to take the blame if you are at fault. Physical courage means you can hang in there and you have the strength to keep on going, even when you are exhausted, and that you can be strong and effective in good times and tough times. Be a leader.

When everything looks bleak be the one to stand up, lean in and be strong. Have the courage to be the best example and don’t be afraid to try. You will be recognized as a leader.

There were a lot more lessons from dad but I’ll save some for later. Today I’m going to reflect on these three qualities that he thought were necessary in order to be respected and to be a leader: *Integrity, *Initiative, *Courage.

Thanks again Dad, I miss you.

March Producer of the Month

Congratulations to Executive Partner Mark Hall, Joseph Chris Partners’ March Producer of the Month! #josephchrispartners #JCProckstars

Mark Hall

March Employee of the Month

Congratulations to the Joseph Chris Partners Employee of the Month for March, Partner Derise Bunn!  And no, we’re not recycling the post from last month.  Derise won back-to-back awards in February and March!!  #josephchrispartners #JCProckstars

Derise Rodriguez-Bunn

February Producer of the Month

February’s Producer of the Month at Joseph Chris Partners is Senior Partner Angie Truitt!


Angie Truitt

February Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Partner Derise Rodriguez-Bunn, Joseph Chris Partners February Employee of the Month!

Derise Rodriguez-Bunn