Don’t Wish Mindy Kahling ‘Happy Birthday.’ Here’s Why …

The courageous, smart and funny Mindy Kahling has a birthday this month. I would say she’s “celebrating” her birthday, but apparently she isn’t into that sort of thing.

“Anybody can have a birthday. It requires nothing. Murderers have birthdays. It’s the opposite of anything that I believe in. And I don’t like at work where you stop everything to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to someone. I feel like that’s for children.”

Well, let’s celebrate her wit anyway. Continue reading


One Thing Job Seekers Can Give Up For Lent Is …

I was working for an Internet company in late 2000 when, like many people, my position was eliminated. It was my first time being laid off (but not the last). I was devastated … and scared.

Unlike many “dotcom” companies, the one I worked for survived the first recession of this century. At the time, however, I did not think that I would survive.

I did not know how I would survive sudden unemployment with no money in savings and no new job prospects. I did not know how my career would survive or ever prosper again.

Every day I woke up terrified of what might come next. Another bill I couldn’t pay. Another resume sent with no response. Another day with no new job leads.

I was out of work and out of money. I had little hope and many worries.

I knew I needed to do something differently to change my job search results. But what to do, I did not know. That’s when I had a truly INSPIRED idea.

It was spring 2001. Although I was not a church-going Christian then, I often abstained from something, usually a food group, in observance of Lent. Unemployment had already limited my diet that year, so another food sacrifice did not appeal to me.

I knew that whatever I gave up for Lent should be something that I depended on, that I felt I needed to live each day comfortably. Giving up that thing, whatever it was would be a true sacrifice.

That’s when I knew what I had to give up for Lent: Fear.

As a job seeker, fear was one of the few constant things in my life. Fear affected all of my decision-making, my outlook on life, and how I chose to interact (or avoid) people.

If I wanted to change my job search for the better, I would have to give up fear.

For 40 days I challenged myself to let go of fear and be courageous in my job search … and in life. I stumbled a few times, but most days I made better, bolder choices. And my career benefited from it.

Instead of avoiding follow-up calls, I picked up the phone to connect with employers and set up job interviews. Making those calls often felt like torture, but I did it. And I landed a few assignments through temp agencies, thanks to my perseverance.

Letting go of fear also meant taking career advice even if it sounded farfetched.

A friend of mine suggested I interview with her company for a job I knew nothing about. She assured me that my skills would be a good match. I was skeptical, but prepared for the interview the best I could and went to talk to her supervisor.

It turned out that the job was a good match for my skills. I worked with that company for a year-and-a-half before the next phase of my career transition started.

Honestly, when the 40 days of Lent were over, I did go back to some of my fear-driven habits. But the “Lenten experiment” showed me what I was capable of when I put my mind to something. And I got a good-paying job and renewed confidence from the experience.

Other things job seekers might give up for Lent (or any time period):

  • Anger
  • Arrogance
  • Complaining
  • Doubt
  • Isolation
  • Over-sleeping
  • Stress
  • Worrying

Your Turn: What are you giving up for Lent? Do you have suggestions for job seekers?

More Info:

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New Job Transition Group in Minneapolis

Park Avenue Church is concerned about being a place of community for those who are doing the work of seeking employment during these difficult economic times. We would like to bring all who are unemployed or underemployed together to explore ways to be of support to each other as you walk out this season of your life.

If you are also interested in sharing your gifts with this group, please join us.

 When: Thursdays, 5:30-6:30pm

Where: Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 3400 Park Ave South, Minneapolis


  • Networking
  • Biblical, spiritual discussion
  • Resource sharing


For more information: Contact Denise Felder, DeniseMpls @ gmail. com

The Job Transition Support Group is sponsored by the Congregational Life & Care Ministry of Park Avenue UMC.

Personal Branding Tip: Get Inspired

The three rules of Personal Branding for Everyday People ™ are:

  1. Know Yourself
  2. Be Yourself, and
  3. Express Yourself

Sometimes to “be ourselves,” we have to get inspired. A great source of inspiration is the stories of both ordinary and accomplished people who have reached their goals or overcome obstacles.

Hearing stories of others can show us what steps we can take, and which personality traits will help us. Hearing other people’s stories also shows us what NOT to do, or how to act differently.

Your challenge this week is to see, read or hear the stories of three people. Get a glimpse into the life or career of someone else to inspire you in your own life.

You don’t have to get inspiration only from famous, wealthy, or accomplished people. Your next-door neighbor or the person sitting in the desk next to you likely has something interesting to share.

Take five minutes to read a news story about someone who has gone through trying times. Spend a half hour watching a biography on TV. Enjoy an hour hearing about the past adventures of someone you know.

Seek out stories from people you can relate to, who have similar challenges or barriers, or whose goals are like yours. Here is how to find inspirational stories:

 Engage in real conversations with people in your community. Instead of just asking “how are you,” sit down with someone and ask what makes him or her a successful parent; how they got the job they have now; or what lessons life has taught them. Then, LISTEN to their answer. How did their feelings about the world or themselves change over time? What mistakes did they make? What were their successes, and how can you replicate them?

Read blogs, websites and biographies of notable people. People who live extraordinary lives have faced real, everyday challenges. Reading a few paragraphs of someone else’s story can show you a lot to help you in your own journey. Find out how that well-respected actor overcame addition. Learn how that multi-millionaire became a success without finishing college. Understand how that musician’s battle with chronic illness affects his art.

Treat your networking contacts as real people. Don’t just check in with your business colleagues when you need something. Take the time to engage in real conversations. Learn from their education or career choices. Find out how they balance their work and personal lives. Find out how they overcame financial setbacks. As you get to know your networking contacts, you will find that parts of your story are helpful to them, too.

Attend conferences, webinars and workshops. No matter the subject, all public speakers have a story to tell. The stories might not be their own. However, you can hear about accomplished people, and how they handle difficult times. Speakers tell these stories to help you relate to whatever topic they are talking about. They also want to inspire you to meet your own goals or make positive changes in your life or work. Many workshops and webinars are free or low-cost. Find ones with topics interesting to you.

After you’ve been inspired, revisit your career or personal goals. Is there is anything you want to change based on others’ experiences? Anything that can help you with your brand?

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