Water under the bridge PT3

Iowa was nice.  It was nice to see my family.  My dad did a ton of traveling for work while I was growing up and he had a desk job now, so it was a new dynamic.  I had a larger town to explore and I loved college at UNI, but something was still off.  I was depressed more and more every day because I felt so…lost in the world.  I just couldn’t find my home.

I enrolled in the military later that spring and went to a base outside of Atlanta for training.  I had a cyst develop on my wrist that the military deemed a “pre-existing condition” and I was medically discharged.  Rather than journeying around the world on Uncle Sam’s dime, I was sent home to Iowa. 

I went back to school that fall and changed from an education major to a communications major.  I dated, I had relationships, and I started a non-school-sponsored International Students Club.  I met interesting people, I learned about their home cities, and it only made me miss Minnesota more. 

One year after coming back to Iowa, I left again…

Water under the bridge PT2

I was stuck in South Dakota, or I felt I was.  Kris made a comment several times that living in “the cities” changed me for the better.  I was more outgoing and I was a little more fearless, but I was also impatient with smaller town life.  Life was moving so fast around me, but I felt like I was standing still. 

I made trips back to St Paul while on the way home to my family in Iowa.  I’d try to visit my friend Adam or other people I knew, or stop in at my “old job”, but I would always leave, feeling like I was heading back to a town where I loved the people, but felt uncomfortable with the town itself.  I felt like a snake in old skin that I couldn’t shed.

I moved back to Iowa that winter because I felt a change of scenery to a slightly larger town would be beneficial.  I thought that would fix my dilemma for sure…I was wrong.

Water under the bridge PT 1

I moved to Minneapolis in 1996.  I had always been in love with the area ever since riding through it on my family’s way to Iowa or Wisconsin from South Dakota to see my grandparents a few times a year.  When I moved, it was after my first year of college and just past the Midway point of the 90s.  I had found an apartment in St Paul, a dirty building, just off of Larpenteur and I was happy to be in the Twin Cities, even though most of my family was in Iowa, and my brother and closest friends were in South Dakota. 

I moved to St Paul for a girl I was dating, and it took moving there to make me realize she was just a girl…not THE girl.  We split up and I quickly realized I was just one person, living in a city that, while captivating and amazing, wasn’t an adventure I could share with anyone.  I rarely went anywhere but work, I didn’t really get to know many people, and I eventually got scared by the complexities of life, and I moved back to South Dakota after 9 months of living in St Paul.  It rained as I left St Paul that May, and it was almost as if the city was crying at the fact I was giving up.

For awhile, it was good to be back in South Dakota with my friend Kris and my brother, but I soon realized I missed the Twin Cities more than I could imagine…

Falling off of the ladder

Anonymous wrote:

I recently lost my job after 12 years at the same employer.  What makes matters worse is this was my ONLY job since college and I fear I have lost the ability to interview well.  I read your books on Amazon, so I am curious what kind of pointers you have for me.  Can you help?


I am currently interviewing to fill a space on my team at my day job, so I will be happy to help with a few pointers though as well as share what I am currently seeing as growing issues.

1.  Dress professionally.  Don’t come in in khakis with a members’ only jacket and expect to be taken seriously.  Wear dress clothes and present yourself professionally, including the way you speak.  Make eye contact when speaking, don’t swear, use excessive slang, or speak rudely about previous employers.

2.  Spend some time on your resume, but not too much.  List experiences and tailor the resume to include relevant experience toward the job for which you’re applying.  Leave the objectives off and don’t write a three page narrative.

3.  Know your worth.  Don’t take a lowball offer just to get a job.  If you have skills and certifications, use those as negotiating tools unless the offer is non-negotiable.

4.  Take pay AND perks into account when considering offers.  Many people jump at pay, only to later realize that benefits are more costly than they can afford.  Ask for benefits information if you’re made an offer so you can consider the whole package.

5.  Be able to speak to your skills and abilities.  Learn to sell yourself and don’t feel ashamed explaining skills and accomplishments as they come up in conversation.  Just don’t get carried away and get negative about past employers or spend the interview bragging.

The two biggest issues I see are the lack of professionalism and an inability to interview.  While the fault may at times lie with an inexperienced interviewer, you should avoid the Q&A session type of interview and turn it into a conversational experience for the both of you.  If you’re nervous going in, think of chewing gummy bears.  Trust me, it works to calm nerves.

I hope you find something in whatever field you’re in.  If nothing comes along, learn a new skill and try something new.  Good luck!


Nailed it

One thing that is becoming increasingly frustrating is the “headline speak” that is taking over Internet news and social media.

“Hillary Clinton decimates Bernie Sanders in…”

“With one word, homeless man obliterates views of…”

“Morgan Freeman annihilates disbelievers with…”

“No one saw it coming when…”

“Bearded hipster destroys views of being the hippest hipster with bearded IPhone”

“Woman completely loses it when she found out she was addicted to pie..”

Okay, I made the last two up. 

It’s just really annoying that articles have to have the “one-up” headline. What’s a one-up headline?  It’s the headline that tries to outdo the others by making the content seem like the most important thing you have ever seen…virtually the print equivalent of TYPING IN ALL CAPS ALL OF THE TIME.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see something less final…no obliteration, no destruction, and no decimation.  Just tell me it is important or interesting and I will read it if it appeals to me.  I just ignore the “one-up” headlines. Typing in caps can be useful, but not if that’s all there is.

We live in the age of content.  We also live in the age where everyone wants everyone to believe what they believe.  Stop believing in everything and believe in something important to you (don’t put too much value in messages everyone else feels you should believe).  I hope you can see through the crap and find value in what actually makes sense to you.  IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER.



Here I sit.

I am sitting on a hill just north of Dysart Iowa, looking over rolling hills of green grass and fields ready for the start of farming season.  I would have never come here, had I not met the woman I would eventually marry just over 4 years ago.  It’s her birthday today, and while the years ticking by is usually something women aren’t quick to celebrate, I will gladly celebrate them for her…for every year more is another year I am lucky to be a part of her life.  Just over 2 more months and we open a new chapter of parenting a teen and a newborn.  A happy birthday indeed.


Resume landing


You said you moved up professionally.  I am just entering the professional world and I am wondering what I need to do to move up.  I am three weeks into an office job and I want to know what it takes to get into management so I can make more money and have more vacation time.  I have a degree, so I think it’s odd that my Bachelor’s Degree in Art isn’t making me more money.  I’d hate to think it was all for nothing.  Any tips? I hate my cube.


Three weeks in and you want to move up?  You want more money and more vacation?  Well, my advice is learn the job inside and out…put in some effort…learn new things and learn to find efficiencies in processes.  Show your employer that every year you’re working there you can save them at least twice what you’re paid and you will move up.  It won’t be in weeks, but maybe months or years.

I don’t know your age, but I am guessing you’re young and feeling ambitious.  That’s good.  You also seem like you’re owed something in life.  That’s bad.  An employer doesn’t owe you anything but respect.  Now, it’s true some people have things handed to them, but most of us have to earn success in life.  Don’t expect anything to be given to you and work hard for everything you want.  It will pay off.  It may not always be glamorous or fun, but it will end up being more rewarding than the alternative.

Your success is up to you.  Earn it every step of the way.