Category Archives: Esteem Rising Career Advice

Business related articles by Jennifer Chandler

A Complicated Life

Do you ever feel like your life is getting so complicated you want to pull the covers over your head and not come out of your room. I have days when I feel that way too lately and though I try to pace myself I think aspects of my life are just getting more complicated. I have been feeling like I’m being called in so many directions that my head is spinning.

I have taken on new work contracts where I’m trying to immerse myself in different cultures, expectations, departments and curriculum. It’s not a huge learning curve but there are a lot of people talking at me and I respect them enough to listen and learn.

My mother is not well and there is great concern that she is in grave danger but she refuses to see a doctor. Every day I check in to make sure she is OK or still with us. Late today after singing lessons, which I see as an indulgence in me time, my intuition told me to go visit her. It was a good thing I did.

Then there is the projects that are going on around our home in an effort to prepare it for sale. We are not sure that will we move but we are actively researching options and looking at houses in other communities.

I’m attending a workshop this weekend and beginning coursework for another program which has to be completed by the beginning of July. Amongst all of this is the normal responsibilities associated with life.

I feel guilty when I don’t blog for a while. Silly, isn’t it? It’s not like this is the big time but I know you are out there. I see my stats and so I feel that one way or another I should make sure to write. I often secretly chastise myself for not writing more career related posts but to be honest I feel my industry has very little new to say. So, when I do write it comes from a place of authenticity which again takes energy.

As time passes I’m not sure I have the energy to keep up with demands of home, work, relationships and family. You know what I mean? I’m sure you do. It used to be that I would thrive on a having a full day of stuff to do but now I would love one full day of nothing to do. If I get an hour of nothingness I’m elated!

Some days I’m afraid to answer my phone or open an email. Somebody is bound to want something from me and I’m not sure I have any more to give. With my Mum I feel I have become the parent, with my sister’s I feel like I have become the person who “handles stuff”, with my house I feel like the project manager and there are of course many more roles to play.

It’s someone else’s fault. I doubt that it is. I am notorious for pushing past pain and discomfort to obtain something for me or someone else. There should be no judgement positively or negatively on that, it just is. I have long worked with women and counseled them on the need for some balance, honoring self and all those great things but I’m not living the talk.

I and maybe most women have a hard time believing that people will be OK without us. We can feel a compulsion to solve every problem or manage every project. It’s not healthy but we will likely only find that out after some hardcore self-reflection or the universe will do it for us.


My Own Resume Review

At the beginning of a new year I like to review my own resume. It is a funny process for me because part of the journey is to take stock of what has changed and the other part is life reflection.

I begin by taking into consideration additional courses I might have completed plus review my skills and expand on information where applicable. Being that resumes should meet and exceed employer’s needs I realize the content will be adjusted to reflect what I can offer.

As much as I can give advice to others about resume development I will freely admit I find it difficult to craft my own. The more experience I gain the tougher it is to resist the urge to include it all. I struggle with the same dilemma most professionals face which is how much is too much and what is too little. I become obsessed with the document to the point where I have to force myself to walk away from the computer.

I have lost sleep over resume development after waking up in the middle of the night with what may be the correct sentence for one solitary point. It is silly how much pressure resumes can put on us because we want to get it right. Imagine being in my shoes when the expectation is that I MUST get it right.

Typically I have chosen a combination resume because after years of doing contract work I find it better to just focus on the skills. My dates are on the second page with my related work history along with education, activities, memberships and awards. It is strong but I always question am I missing anything?

This is where a second or third set of eyes to review what I have and provide feedback would be helpful. Preferably it should be someone who knows me well professionally and has seen me in action but sometimes that’s not possible. Regardless, something has to be done because my normally critical eye is blurry when it comes to my own resume. I’m simply sitting too close.

Now, let’s talk about self reflection. One thing I do find interesting is traveling back in the years and realizing just how far I have come. Life was happening during all of those jobs. I did sweat the small stuff and survived the really big stuff. There were times when I shared nothing with my colleagues and times when I shared too much. As I rewind it is apparent there is always so much to learn and I can’t judge myself nor anyone else.

I look to the lines on my face just as much as the lines on the page and know there is some wisdom that has been gained. When it comes to the resume I want desperately to have the reader find the essence of how, why and what’s to come. If there is something I can offer you, especially if you are challenged by a resume, it is to see it as part of a larger picture.

We can create a cover letter, an opportunity for introduction or interview that allows us to share more of what we have to offer. If you are too close to the document then find help because it is better capture the uniqueness of you than to undersell those valuable qualities.


Employers – What type of resume do you prefer?

“What type of resume style do employers prefer?” As a career consultant I frequently scour the Internet to see what is the latest resume style advice for job seekers. What I have come to realize is that many writers say things like, “Employers prefer…” or “Employers don’t like…” but almost all of the articles or blogs do not have a single quote from an actual employer.

After reading these articles I have questions of my own:

  1. Who are these employers?
  2. How many employers did they contact and how?
  3. What industries are they targeting?
  4. Where are these employers located?


One thing that can be agreed upon in our field is that a Functional resume is difficult sell to employers. It lacks dates and often employers feel like the applicant has something to hide. Chronological and Combination resumes still have their place but with today’s highly competitive application process one needs to strategically compose these types of resumes.

I doubt that most of what you read on the Internet about resumes has been properly evaluated by people who are directly in the position of hiring. Recruiters are known to provide opinion but again we rarely see anything attributed to an actual recruiter and even if we could we can only assume they have the expertise and contacts necessary to give an accurate account. I have always thought that the resume format recruiters prefer, given the expediency of screening, might be very different from other businesses.

This year I want to make it my mission to gather more feedback directly from employers about their resume preferences so that my clients have more to go on. I’m not saying it will be a large sampling but at least if I’m going to talk about it I want full disclosure when I do.


I encourage any employers reading this blog to reach out to me by blog comment, email or phone to provide their opinion about resume styles.

Whenever I meet or speak with an employer I’m going to take a moment to ask, “What type of resume do you prefer and why?

If you know someone who may be able to shed some light on preferred resumes for an industry or company feel free to be in touch.

When I feel I have compiled enough data I will let you know about my findings and in particular disclose, Who? What? and Where? Then you can decide if what you are reading is effective resume advice or just regurgitated old resume news.



Powerful Play Experiences At Work

Do you need to Re-charge, Re-juvenate and Re-energize your work environment and team? Let me introduce you to Robert Manolson of POWERFUL PLAY EXPERIENCES.

Robert and I came to know each other as workshop facilitators some time ago. Since then I have enjoyed following his career as he brings his love of play to many people and organizations. I asked Robert, Why is play important? I thought it would be great for you to hear his story and how he creates FUN AT WORK!

Why play? It really all began many, many years ago as I was pursuing my college and university education in Recreation Leadership.   At that time, I stumbled across a most unique idea that was just beginning to make it’s mark in the field of recreation and leisure – Cooperative Play!!

Cooperative Play was about inclusion, not exclusion – permission to play your way. Cooperative Play was very well known as Community Building. People would gather outdoors on a grand scale at their local park or green space, recreation centre, large field or even a meadow with a shared desire to play! What a great way it was to bring the people of a whole community together for the simple goal of having fun.

Spring forward to today. The name has changed, we now call it Team Building plus we’ve moved the play experience indoors. But the premise is still the same today as it was back then. People rekindle their spirit of play through cooperative games that are free-flowing, high energy, social and engaging. No skill is required. It’s really all about playing just for the sake of playing and having fun.

Needless to say, Team Building and play just for the sake of playing and having fun has evolved. The “community” that now wants to play with me is comprised of diverse people from today’s ever busy, ever stressful world of work. And something quite significant has taken place here as well. These world of work people, who also have a shared desire to play, have rebranded the word Play to something much more fitting and more specific to their situation – Fun At Work!!

Fun At Work is now permission for a time out from an all too busy world of work to feel engaged, manage stressors, open lines of communication, and strengthen employee relationships. Fun At Work achieves the goal of simply bringing people together in a most unique experience. Through the sheer magic of playing together, we create a feeling of community, a feeling of Team whereby everyone in the workplace is truly more connected, while generating more excitement and energy as a team.

In fact, 100% of world of work people that I’ve surveyed agree that they all can use more Fun At Work. It’s very clear to me that world of work people are driven to spearhead a healthy Work-Fun balance. And they are keenly motivated to change the atmosphere at work while working together as partners in their team’s success.

They say, isn’t it really all about a smile on everyones’ faces at the end of the workday? Isn’t it really all about happy staff? I say, check out the many photos on my website and facebook page. Take a few minutes to enjoy viewing the videos on my website and my YouTube page. See what I see after an awesome Powerful Play Experiences Workshop – happy people ready to take on the workday. Heightened levels of positive energy. Stress levels alleviated. Relationships strengthened, whether it’s special bonds re-established or new bonds created with co-workers. And an “I feel great about bringing fun to work” attitude.

Isn’t it interesting how simple it is?

Workplace fun and wellness through the power of play and fun at work.


Thank you Robert for your wonderful contribution to Esteem Rising!!

“Play is something done for its own sake. “It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.” ~ Dr. Stuart Brown~

For additional information and resources about play go to:

The Importance of Play for Adults


National Institute for Play

Summary vs Objective on a Resume

News Flash: It’s not about what employers can do for you, it’s what you can do for the employer.

Did you know that Objectives on your resume may not help you? With the advent of software programs that can screen in or out applicants based on key words today’s job seeker needs to be very selective about what they say in their documents. Add in the plethora of candidates who may have similar or more impressive backgrounds and it is even more important that you do what you can to stand out from the crowd.

I recently found an article on the topic of writing a summary statement rather than an objective. It has really good points that make the case for changing it up a bit to bring out your “A +” game! Follow the link below.

Trade Up to an Executive Summary




Are you ready for job hunting?

Word of advice, don’t bring your parents with you when you look for work AND dress right!

I was talking with a friend of mine about work and we were sharing a bit about how people dress for employment interviews. This conversation led to a story about a woman she knows who owns a store that sells chocolates, ice-cream and other sweets. The store owner has been so discouraged by what she sees when mostly young people apply for a job.


First, they are dressed inappropriately especially the girls who show up in shorts, crop tops and all sorts of clothes best left for leisure activities not work.

Second, they are accompanied by parents. For some reason the mothers feel they should be a part of job searching. Not in the background dropping them off at the mall but actually there as they hand out their resume.

Third, these applicants want to work according to their schedule not the employers. Often she is dictated to by youth about the times and days they want to work based on extra-curricular activities. On other occasions they just don’t show up for work claiming they had other plans.

Let’s tackle the dress problem – There is no reason why anyone can’t find out how to dress for job hunting. Google has plenty of examples of work and interview appropriate clothing. How about plain old research beyond Google? Stores, business magazines, anything that gives you professional inspiration but not crop tops please!!!

As for the parents – Did they not think that about presentation before shuttling their kids out to drop off resumes? and Why are they there? Nothing says not ready for responsibility like a parent hovering over a young adult who should be capable of finding their own job.

Time is not on your side – Employers don’t have to conform to the schedule of the applicant. It is nice bonus if you find a company or manager who has that luxury but not everyone can. A small business relies on everyone being able to step up when the time is needed so dance or hockey practice doesn’t count as reason to not show up for work.

Try a little self-responsibility and get ready for job hunting.


10 Self Care Tips for a Toxic Workplace

Following up on my post Working in a toxic environment – The Clash of Personalities, here are my Top Ten Picks for Self Care:

  1. Take a walk – In your lunch break take a short walk. Decompress from the stress of the day.
  2. Don’t eat lunch with the crowd – If you can eat your lunch in your car, or on a bench outside or even your private office, do it! Being around the lunchroom chatter isn’t always a healthy way to spend your break.
  3. Exercise at the gym – Do you have a gym nearby? Sign up. Take 20 minutes to stretch, practice yoga, lift weights or walk on the treadmill a few days per week. This will shift your mind, body and spirit.
  4. Sit in the sun and listen to nature – If you have a park, roof-top deck, or anywhere to commune with nature then use it. This is a reminder to heal, be still and connect with something outside of yourself.
  5. Listen to music – Maybe you have the ability to quietly listen to music at your workplace. Find the website of your favourite radio station and connect to their audio. Wear one earbud (keeping the other ear free) and listen to tunes on your iPhone.
  6. Journal – Write about your thoughts, feelings and reactions. Journals help to clear the clutter from our mind.
  7. Breathe and shake it off – Take that breath. Shake out those muscle that clench from the pressure. Stay calm and carry on.
  8. Eat healthy – Stress on the job can either make you crave unhealthy comfort food or decrease your appetite. Feed your body properly and it will help you through the day.
  9. Acknowledge your accomplishments – When you are around toxic people or in a negative work environment what is said and felt can begin to take you over. Don’t let what has happened define you. Think about what you are proud of in life and work.
  10. Practice forgiveness – This extends to self and others. It will take some effort and is not intended to condone bad behaviour. Practiced well it can free you of the fear and anger that envelops your work relationships.



Working in a toxic environment – The Clash of Personalities

Have you ever worked in an environment that could be described as toxic? A thriving company can become a place where daily dramas unfold behind each door and professional conduct goes out the window. The cancer that spreads throughout an organization at first might be barely detectable but as time progresses the symptoms become impossible to ignore. As discomfort levels grow the effectiveness of staff weakens.

This systematic breakdown causes all sorts of problems between staff members such as resentment, alienation, an increased need for protectionism and formations of tribes. There are those who will try to become invisible but the majority will seek to form a tribe of like-minded individuals.

In a toxic work environment there can be a clash of personalities.

  • Passive: In order to avoid conflict or render a decision they throw out questions, “Do you think we should call him in for a meeting?” or “Should I tell her she needs to do a better job?” These people like to dip one toe in the murky waters before offering their opinion. They could go either way depending on what gets said next. Like a turtle they retreat back into their shell and hope the problem will disappear.
  • Aggressive: Opinions, drama and finger-pointing abound! They are quick to accuse, dominate conversations, love to exaggerate and dislike alternative viewpoints. They relish the ability to belittle others especially in the presence of fellow staff. They take no responsibility and if there is anyone who can be perceived as a threat to their position they will use their power to remove that person. The aggressive person can go from 0 – 60 in anger, turning any situation into a hostile atmosphere.
  • Passive- Aggressive: Lurking in every toxic workplace is the person who secretly participates and swims in the sea of denial. They knowingly express opinions that could negatively impact others or hurt someone and then deny their intent. They say things like, “I didn’t know that you wanted me to keep that between us.” Or “I didn’t mean anything by it.” This person doesn’t want to appear as disagreeable, stuffs their anger down and avoids direct conflict. Their ability to get others to act out on their behalf allows them to be removed from culpability.
  • Assertive: Somewhere in all of this mess is the person who takes ownership of their opinions, monitors their position, is willing to discuss issues respectively and leaves open the possibility for change. They are clear on what they are willing to take on and express feelings honestly. They don’t apologize for their point of view nor push people to agree. Their assertiveness is rooted in professionalism and an intense need to communicate effectively. It is not to say that assertive people always thrive in these environments but their intention is to stay true.

Given all the personalities and dynamics at play it takes a lot to get things under control. There comes a time to evaluate and ask, How can we rebuild? When I went looking for that answer I received many suggestions but at the end of the day it came down to leadership. You may have to provide sensitivity training, conduct work culture surveys, check hiring practices and own up to employee favouritism. You can also offer coaching, and/or weed out repeat offenders. A clash of personalities can bring down an entire team.