Humility and kindness go the extra mile where skill and sheer will don’t.

My best friend is interviewing for a strategy role at Wal-Mart tomorrow. Today, as she prepped, we chatted about interview questions. Amid her prep, she stumbled upon and sent me this:

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Her comment was, “Imagine actually asking questions like this. Evil lol.”

I’m new to the world of recruiting. As a headhunter, I spend my days scouring LinkedIn, finding top talent for tech companies locally, and on calls, screening potential candidates.

Never in a million years would I ask a question like this. My response to my friend was, “That’s god awful. It’s setting people up for failure. I wish interviewers tested for humility and kindness. …


Four strategies to book fewer meetings — or at least make them bearable.

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Gif from Tenor.com

Your team is exhausted with video chat. It was fun at first, bearable a few weeks in, now they’re burnt out and over it. Less and less turn on their video, and they’ll stay on mute if they can help it. When you ask, “Any questions?” after your presentation, you hear crickets.

Actually, you hear screaming children and barking dogs.

Video conferencing, although a great way to connect, implies a sense of stability and tranquility in one’s household. While seeing adorable dogs and your coworker’s children might be fun for you, it might make them uncomfortable. This is their home, their private life. …


Four verb guidelines that are useful to know and useful to violate

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Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

Your sentence hinges on your verb: Sentences are meant to do something with language. You tell a story, give advice, and explain concepts with verbs. Sure, nouns add color, but you can have a sentence without a noun. You can’t have a sentence without a verb.

You’re probably not giving verbs enough attention. You’re burying them behind filler verbs, distracting your readers, or you’re avoiding them altogether and clustering your nouns instead.

The following four rules of thumb help you write clearly and with impact by focusing more on verbs.

Disclaimer: These rules are useful to know and useful to violate. The goal isn’t to mindlessly slash through your drafts as you edit, but rather, be aware of what you’re doing with your sentences. If you break a rule of thumb, know you are, have a good reason why and carry on. …


Fourteen minutes of negative news increases anxiety and sadness

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Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash

Listening to the news is exhausting us. Watching only 14 minutes of negative news increased anxiety, sadness, and the tendency to catastrophic a personal worry, according to a 2011 study by Psychologists Wendy M. Johnston and Graham C. L. Davey. And you’re definitely watching more than 14 minutes.

A 2017 study found adults “feel conflicted between their desire to stay informed about the news and their view of the media as a source of stress.” Over half the respondents said watching the news stresses them out, and 72 percent believe the media blows issues out of proportion.

In other words, we don’t trust the news. We know it stresses us out. But we can’t turn it off. Why, exactly?


Here are dozens of ways to escape without leaving home

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Photo: Flashpop/Getty Images

In quarantine, vacation days seem like a relic from another era. If you’ll only be journeying from one end of your apartment to the other, why bother? Especially if you had to cancel an actual vacation — your big family camping trip, or that beach getaway with your best friends from college, or the world pastry tour you’ve been planning for months — the idea of taking a day to just stay inside right now can seem depressingly pointless.

But if you’re privileged enough to have a job that offers paid time off, it’s important that you take advantage of it, even now. …


Pros, cons, and why you should probably write on both

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Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

I started writing on Medium with no know-how in January 2020. I committed: I woke up every day at 6 a.m. before work, made an excessively large coffee, and wrote until 7:30 a.m. Sometimes I’d write after work, and I’d always make time on the weekends. Since January 3rd, I’ve missed waking up early to write once.

In January, three of my blog posts were curated in five total topics and I wrote in three publications: The Startup, The Helm, and Fearless She Wrote. At the end of that month, I made a whopping $8.53.

A quick aside: I think it’s important for the (new) Medium community to be honest about potential earnings. We can’t compare ourselves to the Medium legends and expect similar results, it would drive us mad. Is $8.53 embarrassing? Yes. Do my spidey senses tell me that many new Medium writers experience similar results and wash themselves with shame, after reading overnight success stories from other writers? Yes. Is it important to be honest, even about making pocket change, in hopes that someone reads this and gives themself grace? …


A complete example of how to apply this productivity technique to writing

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

When you write, you admit to having something to say. And you admit it’s worthy of someone’s time.

Because of this, when you sit down to put words on a page and end up with nothing, it’s not because of lacking capability or knowledge. It’s because of insecurity, or fear. Writing is a reckoning.

Your mind swirls with self-doubt: “What if no one cares? What if I’m wrong? What if no one clicks this blog or even worse — what if they click it, get bored, and then leave?”

You fear a low read ratio or average reading time. You fear how these numbers determine your worthiness as a writer. …


I hate you, but you taught me a lot

Sometimes I think I’m a badass bitch, and then I get a paper-cut. I’m quickly reminded otherwise.

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Photo by Nery Montenegro on Unsplash

But really — how frustrating are these monsters. They show up uninvited and refuse to bugger off for days — weeks! — ruining my daily chores.

I mean, sure, I shouldn’t haggle the can of beans the way I did (is it called a paper cut if it wasn’t caused by paper)? Maybe I should be more careful when washing glass (ditto). But anywho, it’s too late now. I have not one, but two papercuts.

It’s really impacting my flossing routine. Try to floss without using either thumb — no go. Try to floss using your thumb but not re-opening your papercut, on said thumb. …


#5: Step aside, Ramsay — may the best cook win

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Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

Working from home is challenging for those accustomed to office work. If you were lucky enough to work for employers who set aside “team-bonding” budgets, now you might miss your team events. Zoom is great, but compared to an escape room… apples and oranges. Not a fair comparison. The good news is you can host team events remotely to maintain your group cohesion, team bond and employee satisfaction.

How organizations treat employees through this crisis will speak volumes about them for years to come. While employer-branding mattered before, it definitely matters now. If you’re an employer who funded team-bonding events, perhaps you’re already considering how to maintain your team(s)’ cohesion. You know it matters. If you’re an employer who wanted to host team-building events but couldn’t afford it, the ideas on the list below are either free or less than $5. …


And here’s how it can help you, too.

I’m skeptical of anyone who promises a one-way ticket to happiness, but only after I purchase their “wellness kit”, their personal coaching, or their ebook for $9.99. This is different. This is innately human. And this is free.

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Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

This is my first time growing vegetables; I have no green thumb and I’m using a dinky “Grow Your Own” kit from the local grocery store. My baby vegetables bring me happiness and excitement I never expected from seeds and dirt. …

About

Negin Safdari

Passionate about communication, leadership and equality.

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