What is Your Code of Conduct?

First time here? If you would like to be notified the next time I write something, sign up for email alerts or subscribe to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

I got a Kindle for father's day and I really like it. I can't quite explain why, maybe it's the eInk screen (no glare, no back-lit eye fatigue), or maybe it's just because it is single purposed around reading books). In any event, I downloaded The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - you know the guy: one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. He's on the $100 bill! The book has been very inspiring, and one section in particular has resonated with me: the art of virtue. Benjamin Franklin articulated for himself a list of virtues, and what they meant for him. These are the standards he tried to live by (admitting failure on several occasions!). He even went so far as to devise a scheme to measure his progress in living up to this personal code of conduct. Given his success in life, perhaps a personal code of conduct is something we should all articulate for ourselves. Here is Benjamin Franklin's:

  1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

I see a little bit of Zen Habits in this list, specifically Ben's item on Resolution: isn't this just like purposing your day by articulating your Most Import Task? What is your code of conduct? What would you add or change in Mr. Franklin's list of virtues?

Popularity: 3% [?]

Only Keep The Bad Wine

No Comments » Written on June 13th, 2011 by Brick
Categories: Articles, Inspiration

What conclusions about your life would you make if the plane you were in was about to crash? On January 15, 2009, Ric Elias was in seat 1D on US Airways Flight 1549. About three minutes after take off from LaGuardia airport in New York City, the plane was struck by a flock of geese which resulted in almost complete engine failure. Unable to reach an airfield, the crew decided to ditch the plane in the Hudson river. Miraculously, all 155 occupants of the plane survived. Ric recently shared the three things that went through his mind during the final minutes of the flight as he assumed his life would shortly be over.

I Collect Bad Wines

Ric realized that life can change in an instant. He thought about all the things he wanted to experience and all of the people he wanted to reach out to but had put off. He now says that "if the wine is ready and the person is there, I'm opening it". He no longer wants to postpone anything and this urgency has changed his life.

My Only Regret

Even though Ric felt pretty good about his life and that he had been a good person, he had one regret: wasting time on things that did not matter with people who did matter. As he puts it "I no longer try to be right, I choose to be happy". We often let our ego get in the way of what is truly important.

Dying Is Not Scary

In the final moments, Ric realized that dying is not scary and how in a way it felt as if he had been preparing himself for that event his whole life. However, it was sad. It was sad because he realized he wanted more than anything to see his kids grow up and he realized that all that truly mattered for him, his main goal and purpose in life, was to be a great father.

Watch below as Ric describes the gift of being able to see into the future, come back, and live differently:

Popularity: 2% [?]

The 4 Secrets To Doing More In Less Time

Broken Time
Creative Commons License photo credit: dSeneste.dk

How do you get more done in less time? Business Insider recently presented the results of a study by Dr. K. Anders Ericcson in which the musicians were evaluated to see what the best performers did differently from the rest. The four significant practices of top performers:

  1. Work for shorter periods of time: 4 hours of deliberate, hard work is more effective than 7 hours of steady work. By working for shorter periods of time, you are motivated to optimize each working session since you know it is limited in length.
  2. Set goals for each work session: Leo Babauta at Zen Habits describes this as having three Most Important Tasks for each day - the goals that must be accomplished that day. Before starting any work session, know what you want to accomplish.
  3. Take Breaks: In Dr. Ericcson's study, they found the best performers took significant breaks between their intense work sessions. I'm much more productive in the afternoons if I take a long break for lunch and hit the gym. Enlightened work environments even encourage afternoon naps.
  4. Rest and Recuperate: I've mentioned this before - when we put our work aside it percolates in our subconscious. Our minds have a great way of working things out in the background. There are countless stories of scientists and inventors literally solving big problems in their sleep! They immerse themselves in the problem, and then when they put is aside and sleep, they wake up with the solution. There is a good reason the advice to “sleep on it” is given out so often: it works!

Read More: Why Successful People Leave Work Early.

Popularity: 2% [?]

2 Things Every Job Seeker Must Have

Before I get down to the 2 must haves for every job seeker, I wanted to talk about a great meeting I had with a recruiter last week. It seems to me that every job seeker should have a little background on the whole recruitment business so they can understand what they are dealing with when they engage with "recruiters". Besides internal recruiters in the human resource departments of major firms, there are generally two types of external recruiters:

  • Contingency staffing
  • Executive search

Contingency Staffing

Recruitment firms that specialize in contingency staffing typically have an ongoing relationship with the companies that task them to recruit staff. They typically hire for positions where the required skill set is well defined in the labor market. Typically there exists a ready pool of people in the labor market that have the required skills. Examples include such positions as a payroll administrator, a database administrator (DBA), a java programmer, an accountant, a project manager, etc. These need not be low level positions, they are just typically easier to fill. Given the more liquid nature of the labor market for these types of positions, the recruiters get paid when the positions are filled which from a business perspective  implies they can source a candidate rather quickly. Contingency staffing firms typically hire for both contract and full time positions. When you deal with a contingency staffing recruiter you can expect to be speaking with them regularly as they line your skills up with a constant stream of positions that must be filled according to skill set.

Executive Search

Firms or recruiters that specialize in executive search are paid a retainer in addition to a fee when the position is filled.  This is because they are tasked with finding a candidate with a very particular set of requirements. The need to pay a retainer implies that it will not be easy to find suitable candidates for the position that must be filled. It can take months and even more than a year to fill some of these positions. Typically these are higher level roles and hence the term executive search. In the case of this type of recruiter, you can expect that you will not talk with at all unless they have a specific position for which you are a candidate.

Why the discussion on recruiters? Regardless of type, it should become clear that all recruiters rely on having an up to date database of candidates. In the case of contingency staffing, these candidates are filed by skill set and when they get a request for a payroll administrator, they simply query their database for anyone with the payroll administrator skill set. For executive search, they will scan their own database(s) for resumes that have a decent match to the requirements of the hiring company before engaging in an active (and more costly) search outside of their database(s). Obviously, if you can make the process easier and less costly for the recruiters, you have a better chance of being recruited!

Must Have #1: Resume

Yes, I know, there are all kinds of great stories about how resumes are old school, and doing something different gets you noticed. I'm not saying you shouldn't do these things, however, if you want to get any help from a recruiter you need a traditional resume. Why? Because the systems they use to populate their databases are based on traditional resumes being used for input. These systems rely on the typical resume format to scan for keywords and build a profile of skills which they will later search for when a new position must be filled. Personally I hate it when a store doesn't take credit cards, but if you want to buy something from such a merchant you need to have cash. When you deal with recruiters you need to have a traditional resume.

Must Have #2: LinkedIn Profile

Every recruiter or hiring manager out there is going to search for you on the internet before hiring you. The first place they are going to look is LinkedIn, and then they'll Google you and your LinkedIn profile will probably come up there as well. Furthermore, in the case of executive search when they don't have someone in their database that comes close to a match for a retained search, where do you think they are going to start looking first? LinkedIn. You can almost think of LinkedIn as a de facto database for executive search. I'm willing to bet that almost all executive search recruiters have a paid membership to LinkedIn for exactly this reason. So make it easy for them: set up a profile and complete it by filling in all the blanks like employment history, education, and a detailed summary of accomplishments and skills.

If you feel there are other must have's for job seekers, please let me know in the comments - I'd love to expand the list!

Popularity: 3% [?]