You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

A lot has been going on here, and I know that I haven’t been posting much lately, but you’ll soon be seeing a whole bunch more postings here.  I promise.

One of the activities that has been keeping me busy is that I completed a video for the Spirit at Work Creative Video Contest, and I need your help!  Please watch the video below (or go to https://vimeo.com/groups/spiritatworkcreative/videos/39671085), and click on the “Like” button that’s shaped like a heart in the upper right hand corner of the video.  There are 35 videos in the contest, and the 10 videos that get the most Likes before June 2, 2012 will be judged for a grand prize of CDN$7,500.00.  There are many good videos in the context, but mine is the only one that is dealing with the issues of career and spiritual development.  It might not be as flashy as some of the other videos, but I think that you’ll like the content.

Please share it with your friends and get them to “like” it to!  Thanks for all your assistance!

Ken at the Foxborough Common, Foxborough, Massachusetts, 22 April 2012

On the way home from the New England Folk Festival in Mansfield third day, I was tired, but determined since I had driven a long way that I could get another town in the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge.  It was a rainy day and I really wanted to get home since I was tired from three days of singing, dancing, and hugging lots of friends, but since I don’t get down to this area of the state often.  Therefore, I looked at the map and it seemed like Foxborough would be the easiest one for me to go to.

Most people around the country have heard of Foxborough as it’s the home of Gillette Stadium where the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution play.  I also went to Foxborough many times when I was first developing as a career consultant as I participated in the WIND Networking group.  It’s also been in the news lately as there was just a vote by the town board not to allow casinos in town (they were being promoted by the Kraft family to attach to Gillette.  Also, Route 1 goes through Foxborough and that’s a big commercial area.

I instead went to the town center and got to see what that was like.  It is sort of a rotary around the town common, and it was really nice.  I hadn’t been there before. It reminded me a little of Westborough in that there was a major commercial route nearby and this had all the local stores. There looked like there was  nice theater there, and I wish I had had more time to spend.  I’ll have to see if I can go back when it is sunny!

So, where have do you want to go back to?

I was at the New England Folk Festival, and did this video blog!

Ken at the Burlington Mall, Burlington, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

After visiting Concord, Carlisle, and Bedford, I was tired, but I decided that I wanted to finally get my iPad, and when you are in this area and you want to go to a place with a lot of shopping, you usually head to Burlington.

I have many past experiences in Burlington.  I worked there for a short time, and my former partner grew up there, so I have been there many times.  Burlington is sort of known for a lot of stores and a lot of traffic.  It seems that if there’s a possibility of putting up a store or an office building, it goes up there.  I’ve heard some call Burlington “bad urban planning personified”.  I just know that in many ways I try to avoid going there as much as possible. I could be part of my trying to simplify my life too.

I went into the mall, fighting the traffic getting there, and found the Apple Store.  As they didn’t have what I wanted, (I had to order it on line), I just roamed a little bit and left.  It had been a long day and I didn’t want to deal with the crowds.  I know a little bit more about what I can handle and what I don’t need to bring into my life, and crowds and shopping are some of them.

So, what are the things you know not to invite into your life anymore?

Ken at the Bedford Flag Statue, Bedford, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

Driving homeward from Carlisle, the easiest way was to pass through Bedford, as I knew that I could pick up another town on this day that I didn’t have anything else to do, so I figured I’d make it a “three-fer” today.

Bedford is the town where my father worked all the time that I was growing up, so he commuted there every day and I got to see it.  It’s a typical bedroom community with a main commercial strip on Routes 4 and 225 (The Great Road), and there are a number of historical houses.  I also got to know Bedford as my former in-laws still live there and I occasionally see (Hi Jodi, Rich, Mary, and Erik! I know they will be upset with me that I didn’t stop in to see them when I was there. Sorry, I was on a roll!)

Bedford is also known as having the oldest flag in the United States, which supposedly was carried to Concord for the first battle of the American Revolution. The flag is definitely of a time period as it looks more medieval than like a modern flag.  While I didn’t get into the library to see the original (it was Sunday!) I did see that they were flying it in front of the town buildings.

Bedford was a combination of old colonial and business.  It’s definitely a bedroom community where people tend to commute from, but there are also a lot of colonial era buildings, and a bunch of history.  It’s also the end of the Minuteman Bikeway that goes by my house in Arlington, so I’ve been there a number of times for that.

There were also a lot of gardens in everyone’s yard, so it was nice to see all the flowers!

Forsythia Blooming, Bedford, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

Grape Hyacinths, Bedford, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

Since I was on a roll, and I wanted to buy an iPad, I decided to hit one more town today and started traveling towards Burlington.

So, where have you noticed the mixing of the old and the new?

Ken at Fern’s Country Store, Carlisle, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

After leaving the Old North Bridge in Concord, I realized that I had more time and I decided that I should use my gas money wisely and see what other towns I could also visit on this day.  The obvious choice was Carlisle.

Whereas Concord is a town with a notable history and lots of sights to see, Carlisle is much more of a bedroom community.  There aren’t many businesses there or things that people know of other than it’s a nice place to live and very quiet.  What I noticed most as I was driving toward the center were the bicyclists.  I used to do a lot of bike riding, and we would tend to go through places like Carlisle that had roads that weren’t as busy.  As this was one of the first warm days of Spring, by the time I got to the center of town, there were dozens of cyclists there at a stop at Fern’s C0untry Store.

There’s a nice little rotary in the center where Route 225 (the only numbered route in town) meets Concord and Lowell Streets and it seems like everyone on a bicycle today was stopping there.  This was surprising to me as there is the Bates Farm Ice Cream up the street, and that’s where I always stopped! Inside Fern’s, they had a deli, a liquor store (closed as it was Sunday) and a great collection of local honey (I bought a jar!)

Honey at Fern’s Country Store, Carlisle, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

The quirkiest thing was above the cash registers there were about six clocks, but instead of listing times in Tokyo or London, they all had about the same time but listed all the surrounding towns!  Quite funny.

Clocks at Fern’s Country Store

I walked around the center and saw the library and the Unitarian Universalist Church, where I’ve gone contra dancing before.  It was just such a nice day and everyone was just happy to be outside.

Cyclists in Carlisle, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

After that, I had to head home, and that would go through Bedford.

So, what little quirks have you found in life that brought you joy?

Ken at the Minute Man Statue, Old North Bridge, Concord, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

On the day before Patriots Day (which is well known for the Boston Marathon and various Revolutionary War battles) and I was in the need to do a little roaming, so this proved the perfect day to go out and knock off a few towns from my Meditate Mass 351 Challenge. I had a friend who had lent me her hammered dulcimer while mine was being fixed, and I figured this would be a good day to go out and drop it off at her house in Concord.

Now, Concord is quite the famous town in Massachusetts, and people from other places have tend to have heard of it because of the many famous people who lived here, namely Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau, among others. It’s also the home of the Concord Grape, and the Battle of the Old North Bridge which started the War for American Independance. I have my own relationship with Concord though. I was born here at Emerson Hospital (as were all my siblings and my Dad), it was next door to my home town so I went here often, and I grew to love contra dancing here through the Monday night dances at the Concord Scout House in the 80’s and 90’s. Additionally, my first musical instrument was the fife, as I was a fifer in the Assabet Village Minute Men, a reenactment group of the town militias that travelled to Concord during the Revolution. Given that, and the date, I knew that the place I had to go to was the Old North Bridge.

This is the site of one of the first major battles of the war (not sure if Lexington was before or after it on the same day) and it’s a place that I went to many times over the course of my life. It’s a national park now, and on this warm April day, the plants were just starting to bust out of the ground. There were a good amount of people, but not as crowded as it would be the next day. I got to see a couple of reenactors with a big flag, but overall it was nice and quite.

Colonial Reenactors, Old North Bridge, Concord, Massachusetts, 15 April 2012

And after that, I thought “Where else can I go near here today?”

So, have you come to a place from your past and just found peace there?

Resumes can be a pain. People stress about writing them. Hiring managers are always trying to decypher them to figure out if the candidate has what they need. I say that most people seem to think that there is a secret formula to writing resumes that nobody will tell them about.

My simple answer is that you need to think about who is reading the resume and then write like your audience. It’s really that simple. Resumes are just the information the hiring manager might need to have in order to take the chance to bring you in and talk with you more about the position without wasting everyone’s time.

In order to do that, you have to give a clear picture (in words) of what you actually did. This might seem simple but so many people miss this. I read hundreds of resumes a month and I’ve found three words that are endemic on resumes that don’t do anything to bring that clarity. I cross them off almost every time I see them (granted, there are always exceptions).

Here they are.

  • Assisted: This can mean anything from “I got coffee” to “I did my boss’ job and didn’t get credit for it”. When I see it, I assume coffee, not executive. If I read this, I’m making up stories in my head about what you actually did. They may not be what you wanted me to think.
  • Helped: See above.
  • Worked: Were you in the fields or the mines? This brings visions of either someone under a vicious task master or someone just hanging out waiting for something to happen. Either scenario doesn’t encourage me to think of you as a self starter.

So, what can you say instead? Well, what did you actually do? If I were watching you while you were there, what would I see? Researched 5 new clients and wrote a summary for your boss? Reorganized the inventory system? Produced and assembled 100 press kits? Tell me that!

Using vague words like helped, assisted, and worked will put more questions into the reader’s mind than will do you good. Be clear and detail what you have done to your best story telling ability. If you can’t be clear on your resume, do I think you will speak clearly to me and my customers?

So, what did you actually do on that job?

Invisiligns – Week 6

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as often as I normally do. Between clients, presentations, the redesign of my website, the video project and other life issues, my focus has been on areas other than writing blog posts. I’ve been working on not beating myself up on these issues and just letting them be. As I’ve stated before about my work, while important, it’s not life or death. I say to my clients that they need to be kind to themselves when they’re stressed, so I try to listen to my own advice.

One new thing in my life is that I am now on Week 6 of wearing Invisiligns. They are clear plastic aligners that I wear all the time to reset my teeth. I chipped both my front teeth within three months of each other and my dentist suggested I get them. As my teeth have been moving together since I had braces when I was 13, and there just isn’t room for them all. It’s a little awkward and makes me be really more conscious of my eating, but supposedly I’ll have a brand new smile in 34 more weeks. I think it will be worth the wait.

I get a new set of trays every two weeks and each one works to move my teeth just a little bit each time (sort of like tightening your braces if I were to have the old metal mouth again.) The change from week to week isn’t dramatic, but the cumulative effect over the entire span of time should be impressive.

As you know from my writings, I always like to pull parallels from normal life and shine that thought onto career development. This made me think of so many of my clients that what to move toward a big new career or start a creative endeavor. Too often, they are paralyzed by the amount of effort it will take to get there, and don’t do anything. Any people want it now, and any thought that something will take a little effort I’ve a long period of time is completely daunting to their psyche.

I’ve been reminded over and over again that it’s the constant attention to the daily actions we have that really make the difference in our lives.  I know when I lost a lot of weight, it came down to the decision every moment to not eat something.  If you want to progress in your career, you need to take the small steps of learning a new skill, attending a professional meeting, asking for a new project, etc.  It’s about being intentional in your daily life with your eyes on a goal.  You can’t do it all now, but you can build a foundation brick by brick. Start your practice now!

So, what small steps are you taking today?

Ken at the Southborough Historical Museum, Southborough, Massachusetts, 8 April 2012

After my visit to Westborough, I noticed that I had a little time left before sundown and figured that I would see if I could visit another community in the way home. In looking at the map, I noticed that Route 30 left Westborough Center and went to Southborough on the way home.

I’ve had friends that lived in Southborough over the years, and I’ve traveled through it on the way to other places, but I never really stopped in it. It’s a pretty rural town with most of whatever business occurring on Route 9, which goes through the southern third of the town. I got to the pastoral town center, and I got to see the two institutions that signify the town: the Fay School and St. Mark’s School. Both are private boarding schools that occupy the west and east sides of the center respectively. For those of you who remember 1960’s movies of boy’s boarding school, the landscape will look familiar. Wide green lawns and soccer fields, paths through the woods and brick buildings. As it was Easter evening, again there weren’t many people around and I would assume that many of the students were away in break.

The town also had the “standard for New England” while church and town hall, but there was also a historical society museum and an old horse trough. These used to be standard in most towns as people would travel by horse power and they needed to water their horses once they stopped in town for some activity. I’ve seen them before but it was nice to see again.

Horse Trough on Southborough Common, Southborough, Massachusetts, 8 April 2012

So, what do you remember seeing that’s brought back memories?

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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