Archive for July, 2008

It’s pretty common knowledge that most families need to have 2 incomes to keep their head above water, and we are no exception, although I guess we technically have 3 incomes, because Brian has 2 jobs.  Anyway, my point is that sometimes schedules clash, resulting in missed opportunities.  This happened to us last night.


I was able to score free tickets to last night’s Dodgers Game, courtesy of my employer.  Unfortunately, Brian just started his second job on Monday, and was scheduled to work last night. So, we had to decide if it was worth it to take the kids to this game without Daddy.  In the end, I decided to take them, and I’m so glad that I did.  I mean, this is not something that we would have done had it not been for the free tickets.  We aren’t really baseball fans, although I do enjoy going to games, and we aren’t the type of people to lay out a ton of money to attend sporting events of any kind.  Therefore, this was an opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary for us, and it’s an experience that I think every kid should have.  I mean its baseball!  What’s more American than that, right?


So, the kids and I took the trip down to Dodger Stadium, and for our first victory of the night, I didn’t get lost!  Because I had them by myself, and The Boy tends to run away from me when he gets excited, I laid down the law that they both had to hold my hand whenever we walked anywhere.  Second victory of the night, no one got separated!


We ended up parking about as far away from our seats as we could possibly get.  We had to walk halfway around the stadium, up three flights of stairs and an escalator, and then halfway back around the stadium to get to our seats.  The kids we hungry, so we got some Dodger Dogs, which were huge.  I just knew they were going to waste them, but to my surprise, they ate all but about an inch of each dog.  Then, of course, they wanted cotton candy.  Our kids do not eat a lot of sweets, so I was a little leery, but I gave in and bought them each their own cotton candy.  The Boy inhaled his….I did not know that it was possible to eat the stuff that fast.  The Girl took her time, but eventually finished hers as well.  About a half hour later, the sugar kicked in.  The Girl got incredibly giggly, and The Boy bounced non-stop in his chair while singing, “Cotton candy, cotton candy, cotton candy.”  He would occasionally stop singing to break dance, which is always entertaining.


So, all in all, the night went well.  We left before the game ended (and thankfully, before the sugar crash), but the Dodgers won.  I will admit though, it was so hard without having Brian there with us.  The Boy asked me over and over again why Daddy didn’t come to “The Game”, and taking both kids to the bathroom every time anyone had to go (this resulted in 4 separate trips to the bathroom) was a major hassle.  Those stalls at Dodger Stadium are way too tiny for all three of us to fit into!  But, if given the chance, I would do it all again just to see my kids so happy……


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So, I had to work on my birthday, which is never fun.  However, I did receive the most unique birthday gift that I have ever gotten….a 5.4 Earthquake!  That’s right, we just moved out to beautiful Southern California, and our first earthquake happened on my birthday.  Fabulous!  Thankfully, everyone is ok!

So, because it’s my birthday, and because I’m still a little shook up (pun intended), it’s a short post today.

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Every so often we will post something related to job hunting with a disability.  While these posts will focus on specific issues associated with disabilities, quite often they also apply to everyone. 

One question that has come up time and time again is that of disclosure.  When should a person disclose their disability to an employer?  There are a few camps of opinion on this matter.  One camp believes that you should never disclose your disability, because it is not the employer’s right to know.  Another camp believes that you disclose your disability right away, so that you are not accused of withholding information.  Personally, I am a member of the third camp, who steals the underwear of the other two camps.  In my experience, this has worked the best.

When faced with this question, I often coach people to disclose their disability when it’s necessary, and not a minute before.  “So when is that?” you may be asking.  Lucky for you, I have come up with a formula, of sorts.

Disclosure on Your Resume or Cover Letter

Most people would say, “NEVER!!!!”  I disagree, but only in very specific circumstances.  If you are applying for a job where your specific disability would be an asset for your position, go for it.  For example, if you are applying for a position working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and you happen to be deaf or hard-of-hearing, then you will be likely to have a better rapport with the students, so use it to your advantage.

Disclosure Before the First Interview

I only recommend disclosure before the interview if you might need some sort of accommodation during the interview, or if you have found (in your personal experience) that your disability tends to make people uncomfortable.  I use this most often for persons with obvious developmental disabilities that require job carving and/or job coaches (If you would like more information on job carving or job coaches, please leave a comment and I’ll cover it in another post). 

Disclosure During the Interview

This one is almost a moot point.  In my experience, if you have a visible disability (i.e., you are in a wheelchair), disclosure isn’t usually necessary at this point even if you haven’t already disclosed it.  The disability is obvious, and no other information is necessary at this time.  If you have a more invisible disability (mental illness tends to fall into this category), I tend to tell people to keep it to themselves for a while longer.

Disclosure After the Job Offer

If you know up from that you need any sort of accommodations to do your job, this is when you ask for them.  You need to be certain that your accommodation is “reasonable” under the American’s With Disabilities Act (here is a good website to determine that) before requesting it, because the job offer could be retracted if your request is not “reasonable”. 

Disclosure on a Need-To-Know Basis

If your disability will not require an accommodation and is not going to affect your job performance in any way, this should be your tactic.  For example, let’s say that you have a mental illness, such as Bipolar Disorder.  You have been on your medication for several months or years, and have not had any episodes.  You know that, in order to maintain employment you need to take your medication and see your therapist twice a month.  However, you also know that an episode could possibly strike at any time.  So, you decide not to disclose your disability.  You take your medications, you see your therapist, and you keep your job.  Then, something changes in your life, and an episode is triggered.  This is when you should probably disclose your disability.  You will likely qualify for a leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act, but you will need to disclose the disability.  My recommendation at this point in the game, though, is to work with your Human Resource Department, rather than your direct supervisor, only because the Human Resource Dept. will have far more knowledge and will be of greater assistance than your direct supervisor.

Have you ever had to disclose a disability?  How did it go?  Leave me a comment!

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Sometimes a resume comes to me that makes me wonder how this person has ever been employed in the first place.  There is one resume in particular that stands out in my mind, and I’m going to list a few parts of this resume that are of particular interest, and tell you why it’s so terrible, in case it is not obvious.


Let’s start at the beginning


Clinton Township, MI 48038


This is the heading on the resume.  I have not edited it.  There is no name, and no contact information AT ALL!  How can I hire you if you are anonymous????

Employment Experience


This person proceeded to list about 3 PAGES of work experience.  The fonts were all different, there was no logical form of outlining, and none of the jobs were at all relevant to the job he was seeking.  Here are a few of my favorite entries (Again, the fonts are as they were on the resume):


Hammell Music, Utica, MI

Piano Sales  June 2000 – August 2000

-Acquired experience in piano sales

 MBIG Music Business Internet Guide, New York, NY

Employee, August 1997 – August 1998

-Researched several unknown music web site locations.

 South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Student, August 1996 – May 1999

-Studied basic information about many woodwind, brass, percussion and string instruments through instrumental method classes.


 Asbury College, Wilmore, KY

Student, September 1989 – May 1994

-Studied basic information about many woodwind, brass, percussion and string instruments through instrumental method classes.


For the first two entries, I cannot for the life of me figure out how this person was an asset to either of these companies.  As for the 3rd and 4th “jobs”……….if you already listed your education (which he did) why are you using your student status as work experience???  FYI guys, being a student, difficult as it may be, does not qualify as work experience.  And by the way, your musical expertise does you no good in an administrative assistant position, unless of course you new boss enjoys having his memos sung to him and accompanied by the oboe. 



Is it really that special?



 Languages: fluent in both Spanish and English.

Computer Programs:

-AS400 (recording dealer calls, searching for customers’ information, checking Mopar library, assisting vehicle dealers with their needs, and many others)

-Power Point (for lectures)

-Microsoft Word (including cut and paste, copy, clear, screen-print, font size variation, and Microsoft graphics), willing to go through typing test to show the typing speed

-Outlook (calendar and email)

-Excel (using for Ford dealership information, mathematics), using this program in fun ways

-TASAR (reserving airplane tickets, getting voucher information, confirming reserved flights, answering questions about baggage allowances, giving airport telephone numbers)

-Appleworks 6.0 (Macintosh version of word processing)


Ok, first off, this formatting is just terrible.  He says he can use word, yet he can’t put in some bullet points or something?  And, why is the entire resume centered???  Also, while I didn’t show you the entire 4 page resume, he says that he is fluent in Spanish and English at least 2 or 3 times per page, so is it really necessary to put it here again???  My favorite line of all time though is the part where he says that he uses Excel “in fun ways”.  As an employer, do I really care how much “fun” you have with Excel?  No, I do not.


Now, before you start telling me what a mean person I am for ripping apart this resume for all to see, please know that it’s for your own good.  As someone who has done hiring before, I can tell you that had this resume come to me in response to a job posting, I would have thrown it in the trash.  I don’t want that happen to you.  In future posts, I’ll have some lovely examples on how a resume should look, I promise.


On a different note, I do apologize for my own terrible formatting on this post.  I’m still trying to figure out this blogging stuff!  🙂

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Well, in an effort to make our lives lean a tad more towards crazy, we adopted another pet yesterday. We already have a small Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier that moved here with us from Michigan, but The Boy has been bugging us for something smaller…that lives in a cage. He really wants a bird, but Brian isn’t having any of that. So, after a few days of perusing Craig’s list, we decided to adopt a 5 month old Guinea Pig. She is a sweet little critter, and the family who graciously gave her to us was so nice. They gave us everything, the cage, food, bedding, even a book and a tiny little brush to brush her crazy hair!


 So, I brought Bacon home (the former family named her Bacon, and I thought it was so cute that we just had to keep it!). The kids were so excited, although The Boy is convinced that he’s been bitten already about 8 times…..he has not, in fact, been bitten at all…he’s just a dork. Anyway, everyone loves a little Bacon, even the dog, who showed his love by pooping on the floor. Fabulous!


Ironically, for dinner last night, we had breakfast…..sans bacon.


And, her she is in all her glory! 


From this profile her witty intellect is highly visable.

From this profile her witty intellect is highly visable.

She is playing coy... clearly it isn't working.

She is playing coy... clearly it isn't working.

Ah, she COULD escape if she wanted, but alas, she shall let you enjoy a bit more of her time. 

Ah, she COULD escape if she wanted, but alas, she shall let you enjoy a bit more of her time.


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Here it is, our first attempt at blogging!  Since this is our first post, you are probably wondering, “Who are these people?” and “What the heck are they writing about?”  So we figured we should give you a little bio and a synopsis of sorts, so here you go!


We are Brian and Shawna, parents of 2 beautiful children who, for the sake of the blog, we’ll call Q and LL or The Girl and The Boy, respectively.  Q is our oldest at 6 years old, and LL is 3 (and a half J ).  We just moved to beautiful Southern California from Michigan back in April of this year, and honestly, it was the best decision of our life!


I am Shawna, and I am still hanging on to 30 years of age (until 7/29), and I work full time in a large non-profit agency.  This position is what brought us out to Cali, finally. My area of expertise is employment.  I have worked in Vocational Rehabilitation for about 8 years now, and have extensive knowledge in how to find that perfect job.  I also write killer resumes.  J  I’m also, according to my husband, a geek.  Why?  Because I read.  I read books and blogs, and news websites.  He, however plays “MUD” games….which translates to a video game with no pictures…just text….and I’m a geek?  Whatever……


And, this grammar guru of the 30 region is Brian.  As far as employment goes, well, I have walked my share of career paths.  After getting a much desired degree in, wait for it… wait for it… German.  That’s right.  What do you do with a degree in German?  Well, stand-up comedy and acting, of course.  I was confident I could jump into the crazy world of Business.  The Detroit, MI area was booming with German based companies numbering nearly 250 when I finished the degree.  But, alas, the labor freeze had already iced over.  I needed work and found the title insurance industry.  Shortly thereafter, by a stroke of luck and with the help of some old friends, I became a German teacher.  For 2.5 years I taught the German language, history, culture and, of course, grammar.  I found it frustrating to have to teach English grammar before attempting the slightly different German version.  After this career, it was a short stint in title insurance again, then window tinting, and then… wait, window tinting?  Ok…?  Then I found what tends to fit my personality and skill set.  I worked in promotions at auto shows for Audi.  (German, Cars and Hugo Boss… YES PLEASE) Now, I still do promotions for a beverage company doing sampling and support and soon sales in retail.  How, you may ask did I come by this many jobs in a seriously down trodden economy… well, partly, my wife writes killer resumes and cover letters.  Now, I stay with the kids as much as possible during the day and work evenings and weekends.  Am I slightly more long-winded than Shawna?  Slightly.


As for our little blog, we are going to have a variety of topics that we’ll touch on, but they will be in two primary categories:  Job Hunting and Working Parents.  If we find that these two categories can’t coexist, we might split the blog up, but for now, they will be  together. 


On the Job Hunting side, we will provide tips, tricks, and anecdotes to help you find your perfect (or almost perfect) job.  Every so often, we will also have a post that is specific to addressing the challenges of looking for work when you have a disability, because this is a huge challenge, and needs to be addressed.  And, let’s face it, every blogger wants to make some money on their blog, right?  So don’t be mad at me for offering to write and/or revise your resume for a small fee.  J 


On the Working Parents side of things, we are going to share with you how we handle different situations, including childcare, schedule conflicts, and all of those other things that come up when both parents work.  And Brian may just speak his mind now and then on a variety of topics he… … struggles with.  Maybe even some that could be useful for younger readers.  For example, how to use proper grammar in a world ruled by the ‘get it, do it, say it NOW’ philosophy.  It’s still important to know how to talk without sounding unintelligent, especially when you are interviewing. 


If you have questions related to our topics, or just want to say hi, please feel free to email us at shawna.and.brian@gmail.com.



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