The Rubber Band Ball

Have you ever come to visit me at my office? You’ll find at least one rubber band ball somewhere on the desk. I start rubber band balls. It’s what I do to stay busy. I play with them when I’m on the phone, while in a meeting, or when I need a break and I’m walking around my desk. Now, you might notice that if you visited my desk in 2011, 2014, or 2017, my rubber band ball is about the same size as it always has been. Yet,  you’ve seen me adding a rubber band to it, once in a while. You can assume I do it more than that. So, what’s the deal? How can it still be hand sized?

Here’s the answer: The rubber band ball rotates out and it does a lot more than just keep me busy. It’s a symbol of every new GENUINE connection that I make. A genuine connection can be a new acquaintance I click with, breaking down a barrier with someone I’ve known, or connecting two people from my various fields. Student intern and hiring manager? Connection. Selling a client who always says “No?” Connection. Collecting some amazing business cards at a networking event I loved? CONNECTION! And, I have one at home for my consulting business, one for my marketing/e-commerce business, one for my real estate business, and one for my wine distribution business. And, each one of those have various spots around my home office or other offices. So, wherever I’m sitting, if I make a connection, I add a band to the ball closest to me. You’ll find multiple balls around my home office, Long Island office, and New York City office.

In each field or industry, at each location, with each connection I make, I add a rubber band to the ball in front of me. So, some are smaller than others. My e-commerce ball is small because I don’t interact with many customers. My university rubber band ball is fairly large because I’m always making connections with students. So, if I add a rubber band for every connection, and I am a natural diplomat and connector, why isn’t my rubber band ball huge in every office? Well, I’m not in the business of making a huge ball of bands. It would take too long to find the bands and wrap them around. It’s not where my focus is. And, I like the fact that they’re mobile. I can toss it, bounce it, or move it to a new location. So, I devised a way to keep the ball small. I just start it over!

When do I start the ball over? Every time I change positions or organizations, I start a new rubber band ball. If I had a new business product or core business area at my home business, I start a new ball. if I earn a promotion or lateral move, I start a new ball. When that happens, I dispose of the old one. Now, it would be waste if I just threw them out. I used to bring them home to my dog to play with, but I wanted to show off my work and spread the word about the rubber band ball strategy. What I currently do is, when I’m ready to get rid of a rubber band ball, I find a protege or mentee. I tell them this story, and hand them the ball. Hopefully they continue the trend or start their own!

So, there you have it: a great way to quantify your soft skill. The rubber band connection ball. When are you starting yours?

Are you a Gold Digger or Coal Miner?

I was having lunch the other day with a former student of mine who has been debating his various career choices. He has been in various sales roles over the course of his short, post academic career. But, he continues to think about his next step, and moving on (which is fine). I’d like to think I’m part of his Personal Advisory Board, so I was happy to have lunch with him to discuss his future. He was considering various ideas: teaching, entrepreneurship, human capital… all ideas I am in love with myself. However, I found myself a little conflicted in telling him to go into any one of these fields. He could have worked for me. Lord knows he’d be excellent. He’s in wealth management at one of the largest investment banks in the world. He is responsible for making 100+ phone calls every 1-2 days and having lunch with 50 wealthy decision makers a year. And, he does a great job.

So, why is he considering other options? That’s what I had to ask myself. That’s why I was conflicted.

He was looking at other career opportunities because he had spent about a four years in the industry, 2.5 at a much smaller investment firm, and 1.5 at his much more prestigious one. And, he was exactly where he started, making just a little less than six figures and wishing he could catapult himself to wealth. He wanted to be in business for himself so thought about starting a retail brand, a web startup, etc. He invested time and energy into these ideas and we even worked on some, together.

But none of these ideas had panned out for him. Instead, he had this high stress, but highly productive position at one of the best firms in the world. So, as I digested this information (and my salad), I asked him “Why do you want to leave this position? Tell me more about it.” He replied.

“I am good at my job. I can do it. Not many can but I can. It’s very likely members of my team won’t make it past their first year, but I’ll be fine. The problem is I want to make hundreds of thousands of dollars, now. The potential isn’t there the way the team is structured.” He went on to tell me that the way his team works, he will work really hard for the first few years to build wealth for his bosses. If he can stay the course, within 15 years, he’ll be around a take home of $1,000,000 per year. I had to ask…

“Is this a coal mine, then, or a gold mine?” You have to ask yourself what kind of business or job you’re in, always. Gold. Or coal?

In the 1800s, hundreds of thousands of people moved either to the US or from the East Coast to the West Coast in search of a gold heavy gold mine. They panhandled. They dug. They did whatever they could to find a few flakes of gold and cash in on the California Gold Rush. And, a number of people were able to cash in. But, as the land in California was regulated and people paid attention to the indigenous killings, it became more and more difficult for new players to move in. Plus, a good amount of gold was mined quickly. Only a fraction of the people who didn’t move perfectly with the right resources actually landed enough goal to become rich.

During that same time, the United States workforce had already been mining for and mobilizing coal to use for any number of reasons. Coal powered everything from factories to trains and was the major ingredient in steel production. It was mined for over a thousand years before, in cities all over the globe and was heavily mined up until its decline from 2007 until now. It had staying power. Most companies took years to establish themselves, mine the coal, and build a distribution channel of customers. But, those who were patient and continuously dug, were rewarded. And, those who worked at those companies made good livings with proper education, training, and hard work (bear in mind, if you were an uneducated miner, you probably didn’t go far, but work with me, here- some did).

Do we see the difference? At all times, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Is this a coal mine or a gold mine that I’m working in?” And, you’ll also want to know, for yourself, if you prefer gold or coal. I, personally, will dig all day knowing that there’s coal at the end of my shovel. It’s consistent, I know there’s a buyer. I know what it looks like. It may take a few years for me to be as wealthy as I want. But, the coal will not falter. It may not make me rich, today. Eventually, I’ll sell it.

Some can work all week just visualizing the gold. They already know how it’s going to feel when they find it. But, it’s also likely that they don’t come up with gold at all, or perhaps just a few flakes. And, it won’t be enough to retroactively pay for their losses.

We ultimately decided that the current opportunity was a goal mine. If he keeps digging, he’ll eventually find a customer for his coal.


Getting Your Shoes Dirty


So, here’s the deal. Imagine a fork in the road of your life. You have at least one decision to make (maybe more) regarding your career. Maybe it’s selecting a college major or an internship. Remember that Stephen Covey says we need to begin with the end in mind. So, you’re deciding on what it is you want to do. You’re going to be as specific as possible in your goal, right? It’s not, “I want to do something in marketing.”

So many students and young professionals I encounter say to me “I’m afraid that if I make a decision that’s too specific, I’ll have wasted my time going down a path that won’t be correct.”

But, there are three reasons that you shouldn’t worry about this, one bit:

Yes, in taking your time to go down a path that isn’t going to be your intended career choice, it’s likely that not everything you do will be fruitful. But, that’s going to be the case in any choice you make.

There is also a chance that the decision you made is correct, and you’ll be well ahead of everyone else who haven’t started their career decisions, yet.

Odds are you’ll have gained enormous amounts of transferable skills that will help you in your next role. For example, if you thought you were going to be in sales and you wind up in medical school, it’s likely you’ll use your management and sales skills in running your own office or becoming a hospital manager. Etc. Etc.

But, let’s think of the absolute worst case scenario:

1- You chose a path that did not yield any fruitful results.

2- Your decision was not correct.

3- There is absolutely no commonalities between your intended career choice and what you’ve chosen to do, now.

Your anxiety tells you that when you turn around and head back to that fork in the road, there will be someone waiting there for you (a friend, perhaps, or relative). And, they will remind you that you took a wrong turn and claim that you wasted your time. First of all, pay no mind to anyone watching you live. Odds are they aren’t paying that close attention. And, if they are, it matters not. It has absolutely no bearing on your actions

But, secondly, that person is at the fork in the road because they haven’t moved from it. And, when you and them get to a distress point or pivot, you’ll have a ton of experience to discuss. Even if it’s not relevant, it makes you interesting. It makes you humble. And, it makes you resilient. You have dirty shoes, filled with stories. Theirs are clean and boring.

In conclusion:


Your Personal Advisory Board

You may have seen me reference the “Personal Advisory Board” before. But, what is it?

The Personal Advisory Board is a concept that I’ve borrowed from friend and colleague Ray Pullaro at LIU Post in Brookville, NY. Many of my friends and colleagues are masters of advising young people, students especially. I suppose that’s why they became professors! However, this is a great life tip for anyone and at any point in their career. Ray is an Asst. Dean of the College of Management, an Alumnus of Yale University, and a former Managing Director from Blackstone (a very large and prestigious private equity firm). He told me about the Personal Advisory Board, and I’ve added a few of my own little tips and tricks.

So, let’s get to it:

The Personal Advisory Board is a three member team that mimics a traditional advisory board. An advisory board is a body that provides non-binding strategic advice to the management of a corporation, organization, or foundation. The informal nature of an advisory board gives greater flexibility in structure and management compared to the Board of Directors. If you were the CEO of an organization, you’d really kind of HAVE to listen to a Board of Directors. But, an advisory board is there for your benefit, to guide you with whatever decision you’re making. The same can be said of your Personal Advisory Board. It consists of three members: people you admire who are typically your “voice of reason.” They can be anyone: aunts and uncles, parents, grandparents, friends, colleagues, managers, whoever.

I was watching “Chopped” one night when a significantly older competitor told her counterpart, “Look, when you’ve gotten to be my age, you’ll realize you learned two or three times what you think you’ll have learned.” In that same vein, like a “Chopped” cook, I’m going to put my own “spin” on the Personal Advisory Board. And, I’m going to suggest the three people you should put on your Personal Advisory Board.

  1. Your Goal Role: Someone who is in the role you want, later in the life. They can be ahead of you one step, two steps, or be in the exact place you envision yourself in, when you retire. The point is that they’ve done what you want to do. Maybe they got there in an unorthodox way. Maybe they did exactly what tradition calls for. Whatever the case, they’ve made mistakes along the way and can guide you, properly. I remember hearing a student once tell me, “Well, what I want to do has never been done before.” First of all, while I applaud their innovation, they wound up working in technology in a very traditional role. Secondly, if he became the true innovator he wanted to become, there are other folks who have innovated before him. There are mistakes to learn from, processes to go through, and conversations to be had. Maybe your uncle was the first person to sell coffee in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Or opened a dry cleaners where there was none. That’s innovative. Find someone who’s broken the rules. Or played by them. Just draw the connection.
  2. The Success Story: It doesn’t matter what industry they are in, how they got there, or how far it is from your career goal. They know the formula for success. And, they have some wisdom to share. Try to select someone who thinks differently than you. Figure out how their brain works. And, see what you can learn from them during every conversation. It helps if they are in a similar field to you. But, this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s very important, here, to find someone who is the yin to your yang. While all of your Advisory Board members should be successful, they should have opposite viewpoints than you, be able to teach you something during each conversation, and provide you with something you don’t have. You’re not perfect. Add to your skills and traits through this person.
  3. The Outsider: This is someone who has no linkage to your industry or job. They are there to give you an outside perspective. Perhaps a family member like a mother, father, or older sibling. Or, you can select a friend, fraternity or sorority member, etc. This should be someone you would need to explain things to. Why? Because having to explain things to someone who is not in your field or industry will ensure that you do what is necessary to break things down, simply. Doing so will put you in a position to really think about what you are doing, what decisions you are making, and why you are making them. Plus, you’ll have a great resource to help you make those decisions, since they bring a completely unbiased perspective.

So, there it is, your Personal Advisory Board. Now, what do they do? PAB Members are your wise and righteous helpers. They are there to help you make the tough decisions, professionally and personally. Are you looking to leave your company? Ask your board. Are you thinking about a divorce? Ask your board. Are you thinking of investing in a small business? Ask… your… board.

But, before you ask your board these tough questions, first you have to ask them to be ON your board. How do we do that? Well, let’s have a look:

  1. Board Selection- Select your members carefully. And, be sure to make them sustainable choices. If you need to replace someone, you can. But, there’s no reason to tell them. Simply ask another member. Do this sparingly.
  2. Do the Ask- Ask them to be on your board and tell them what that means. They have been selected as one of three personal advisers to be with you within a moments notice. Let’s define that. It means that within 24 hours your Advisory Board Member needs to get back to you with a one hour time block so that they can help you make your decision. Of course, there are limitations (someone is out of the country or dealing with a death in the family, whatever). But, for the most part, they need to be available.
  3. Engage them! Now that you have your board, engage them with question.

As always, thank you for reading and enjoy building your Professional Advisory Board!


So, You’ve been terminated…

It’s 2017. We have a reality television star in our White House, a former Governor on TV, and we’re debating about which bathroom we’re supposed to be using. So, don’t be in disbelief when the unthinkable happens. You were terminated. There’s nothing more life altering than losing your job. And, there are a number of ways this can happen:

  • You, yourself, were terminated due to poor performance (or perceived poor performance).
  • Your department was let go due to funding issues or restructuring.
  • The company you work for has ceased to exist in the capacity in which you were hired (run out of Round A or B funding, gone out of business, has been purchased by a competitor, etc…)

So, what do you do? The first thing you’re going to probably tell me is that it depends on the circumstances. It does not. The circumstances should be disregarded. The only thing you need to worry about are your own career needs and finding your next step. There are three phases to finding your next role, each with three steps:

Phase One- Crisis Day

This should be the first set of tasks you complete, preferably on day one. Phases two and three are about setting yourself up for success. Phase one is about preventing failure.

1- Apply for Unemployment: This should be the first thing you do. Don’t wait until your severance runs out or your actual last day. The minute you find out you’ll be unemployed, even for one day, set up your profile. In NYS this is fairly easy. While you can’t actually receive unemployment until your unemployment date, you can be ready to hit the button that day.

2- Take care, Medically: You don’t know how long this period of unemployment will last. It’s time to face the reality of unemployment. It’s going to be difficult. If you have a few weeks until your unemployment date, schedule appointments with your general practitioner or gynecologist, your dentist, and/or any other specialists. Also, make it a point to refill prescriptions early, if you can. And, figure out what your best health care option will be, post termination. Does your insurance company have a COBRA option? If not, applying for medicaid might be your best bet.

3- Update your resume: Even if you’ve been updating your resume and planning your exit strategy, have another look. Your views may change now that you are actively looking. You may want to be more aggressive, highlight different areas, etc. And, you’ll definitely want to explain this gap in employment. Have a c-corporation? Try doing some consulting, that’s an easy way to explain the gap. Or, highlight the great projects you completed before you left.

Phase Two- Path Selection

Don’t panic! Here, we’re going to make use of our personal and professional networks to make sure we figure out the best path. Do you have a Professional Advisory Board? Read our blog article about creating yours! It’ll be coming up soon!

1- Think!: Don’t take immediate action to find a job. Odds are that the first 10 jobs you apply to out of desperation will be the wrong fit for you, anyway. Even if you land one, it’s not a long term solution. Select your mentors that you wish to disclose this information to (honestly, 2-3, maximum- don’t start spreading your termination around, it’s not the right look for your personal brand and people will make assumptions).  Figure out what made you truly happy about your role, what did not. Place all of the positives into a category, remembering you cannot ignore the negatives (some of those will still be there). Think of some of the roles in your field that you would be great at. What kind of transferable skills do you bring to the table? Of course, if you’re perfectly happy in your role, just find one like it!

2- Test: Try to take some free online job assessments. If you don’t know where those are, send us a note and we can help! There are assessments in personality, skill sets, and work cultures. Some of these, like an Excel test, you can actually put on your resume or LinkedIn Profile. But, all of them will help you figure out who you are and what your needs are.

3- Broad Networking: Don’t look at your professional and personal network with the idea of finding a job. Just set up meetings with three people outside of your Professional Advisory Board. Try to set up drinks, a lunch, and a dinner. Find out what your friends and colleagues are up to. These may be people inside your current organization. That’s fine. But, they will be in a similar boat as you, so perhaps looking outside is best. Tell them what’s been going on with you, highlight your skills. You may mention that you’re transitioning, but there’s no need to disclose your termination.

Phase Three – Search

1- Start Applying: If your network is small and you’re an entry level employee (this is really a challenge and I urge you to create your network the minute you get to your first year of college), you may be subject to applying blindly on Linked In, Indeed, etc. Find some recruitment firms (like us!) to help make it easier for you.

2- Focused Networking: If you DO have a network (and I hope you do), tap them. Tell them you’re actively looking. Apply to jobs in their organization and let them know you’ve applied. OR, better, ask them for a cup of coffee and see if there’s an immediate or future need in their organization. Send personal Linked In messages, emails, and even letters.

3- Hone your Skills: Is there something that you can do that nobody else can? Or, at least, that you can do really well? Start doing it, even if it’s on a volunteer level. Join some non-profit organizations, consult, or take on small unpaid or paid projects. Blog about it, build your brand, and send that out to your friends and colleagues. You’ll start to notice their attitudes change.

Notice I said nothing about your relationship with your employer. Remember that this isn’t about them, it’s about you. Speaking ill of your employer will do nothing but paint you, poorly. All three of these phases (and their three steps each) are about YOU. What will YOU do to find your next role? Figure that out, and you’ll be in great shape. And, of course, we’re here to help. Contact us if you’re in a jam. We’re here to help!

Strong U.S. job growth, rising wages set stage for Fed rate hike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employers hired workers at a robust pace in February, beating expectations, and wages grinded higher, which could give the Federal Reserve the green light to raise interest rates next week despite slowing economic growth.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000 jobs last month as the construction sector recorded its largest gain in nearly 10 years due to unseasonably warm weather, the Labor Department said on Friday. The economy created 9,000 more jobs in December and January than previously reported.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen signaled last week that the U.S. central bank would likely hike rates at its March 14-15 policy meeting. Job gains have averaged 209,000 per month over the past three months. The economy needs to create roughly 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

“By any measure this report is consistent with an exceedingly healthy labor backdrop and, I think more critically, it’s a number that will embolden the Fed to raise rates in March,” said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

U.S. short-term interest rate futures initially rose after the data, while prices of U.S. Treasuries pared earlier losses. U.S. stock index futures were trading higher, while the dollar <.DXY> was weaker against a basket of currencies.

Last month’s brisk clip of hiring was accompanied by steady wage growth, with average hourly earnings rising 6 cents, or 0.2 percent. January’s wage growth was revised up to 0.2 percent from the previous 0.1 percent gain. That lifted the year-on-year increase in wages to 2.8 percent from 2.6 percent in January.

The unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 percent, even as more people entered the labor market, encouraged by the hiring spree. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast employment increasing by 190,000 jobs last month.

The labor force participation rate, or the share ofworking-age Americans who are employed or at least looking for a job, increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 63 percent, the highest level since March 2016.

The employment-to-population ratio rose to 60 percent, the highest since February 2009, from 59.9 percent in January.

With the labor market near full employment, wage growth could speed up as companies are forced to raise compensation to retain employees and attract skilled workers.

According to economists, wage growth of between 3 percent and 3.5 percent is needed to lift inflation to the Fed’s 2 percent target. But inflation is already firming, in part as commodity prices rise.

Rising inflation, together with a tighter labor market, stock market boom and strengthening global economy, has left some economists expecting that the Fed could increase rates much faster than is currently anticipated by financial markets.

The U.S. central bank lifted its benchmark overnight rate in December and has forecast three rate increases for 2017.


Job growth has averaged more than 186,000 per month since January 2010. While Donald Trump’s victory in last November’s presidential election sparked a stock market rally and jumps in consumer and business confidence, there has been no surge in either business or consumer spending.

Data ranging from trade to consumer and business spending suggest the economy slowed further early in the first quarter after growing at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the final three months of 2016. The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product growing at a 1.2 percent rate this quarter.

A broad measure of unemployment that includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those workingpart-time because they cannot find full-time employment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.2 percent last month.

All sectors of the economy, with the exception of retail and utilities, expanded payrolls in February. Manufacturing employment increased 28,000, the largest gain since August 2013, as rising oil prices fanned demand for machinery.

Construction payrolls surged 58,000, the biggest gain since March 2007, boosted by warmer weather.

Retail sector employment fell 26,000, the biggest decline since December 2012, after a gain of 39,900 jobs in January. Retailers including J.C. Penney Co Inc and Macy’s Inc have announced thousands of layoffs as they shift toward online sales and scale back on brick-and-mortar operations.

Utilities shed 1,000 jobs last month because of the milder weather.

Government payrolls increased by 8,000 jobs despite a freeze on the hiring of civilian federal government workers that went into effect in January.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao), a NY-based algorithmic job matching company launches in 2017!

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — SuperCareer has recently launched. Its mission is to improve how employers recruit and evaluate talent and enhance how job seekers apply for and get jobs through algorithms and job matching data. SuperCareer is a unique recruitment, assessment, and job-search platform that showcases job seekers’ talents and abilities.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here:, a NY-based algorithmic job matching company launches in 2017!, a NY-based algorithmic job matching company launches in 2017!

“SuperCareer streamlines the job application process by feeding key resume information and predictive assessment results into our proprietary, algorithmic-based ranking and matching system. This allows applicants to be quickly matched based on things like critical thinking ability, personality, work values, and more. Companies can then efficiently select the crème of the crop, saving recruiters and hiring managers a lot of time and effort,” says Arkin Kora, CEO and Founder of SuperCareer.

SuperCareer also empowers job seekers and employees by enabling them to highlight their key work-related qualities and characteristics, getting them recognized and considered by companies in active hiring mode. Once job seekers have taken SuperCareer’s proprietary, free-of-charge assessments, they are ranked, evaluated, and moved to the next step in the hiring process. Mr. Kora states, “Our process will get individuals quickly noticed in a sea of applicants and, in turn, have them be more likely to get hired.”

About the Company

SuperCareer, based in New York, is made up of young, dynamic professionals and an advisory panel of seasoned experts in the fields of human resources and industrial-organizational psychology. Via our disruptive tools and technology, we endeavor to help employers narrow down applicant pools faster and provide valuable, predictive information about prospective candidates. As well, our job-match tools help job seekers gain self-insight, so they can leverage their talents and advance their careers.

For more information on SuperCareer’s recruiting and assessment platform please contact:

Dr. Christopher Salute
Director of Business Development

Links of social media buttons:

What Do You Want to do?

One of the major issues I have lately with students entering or exiting college is they focus on their major of choice. I ask them, “What is it that you want to do?” and they say “Well, I majored in English.”


First of all, don’t major in English.

Secondly, do people walk around with business cards that have their college majors on them?

Stephen Covey says “We are to begin with the end in mind.” I will say the same to you. Begin with the end in mind. What is it that you want to do? Then, work backwards.

Need help figuring that out? Call us…