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Tomorrow, we celebrate our country’s independence. Is it possible to celebrate a personal career independence day? After much thought, the only way to have career independence is to possess enough money that a career is unnecessary.

The career people that come the closest to being independent are the ones that take pride in their work ethic. They understand that their true security and sense of independence is internal, not external. Their ability to produce results provides security, not their current employer. Here are a few tips to move your career towards an independent experience:

Live within your means and create a plan of action for your future independence. Don’t spend next year’s pay raise today. Focus on value. When making a purchase, many times spending a little more can provide greater value, which can translate to a wiser long-term buy.

Create a positive attitude and always strive to deliver more results than what’s expected. This generates a payback for you in the future. The saying, “What goes around, comes around” is true. It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it. Resist negative temptations.

Strive to give back more than you receive. Be involved with your family, your city and your community. Getting involved with a movement or charity, bigger than yourself, will energize your attitude and personality. When you donate your time or money, you will be rewarded many times over.

RECAP: Career independence seems to be an oxymoron, because even if you are self-employed and a sole practitioner, you must answer to government agencies, i.e.: licenses, taxes, etc. Therefore, total independence is an ambition to move toward.


Do you notice that these days you’re talking less and typing more? Maybe you wish you had paid more attention in typing class?

Every day I communicate with human resource managers that, more and more, prefer receiving e-mails rather than voice mails. It’s easier to get a quick response by sending an e-mail.

The problem is that most of us communicate much better verbally. Verbally, you can raise or lower your tone of voice to make an impression or repeat an important idea. E-mails become a permanent record of your relationship with the other person and can be used in legal proceedings. You must be careful of what you write in your e-mails; they can be forwarded to many people and can be saved indefinitely.

If you think your correspondence is cluttered with repetition, overused expressions and/or cliché’s, check out the survey results I found in Writer’s Digest magazine.
The Plain English Campaign, a group that advocates the use of plain, understandable language for public discourse, recently polled its 6,000 members to determine the most annoying phrases in English. Here are some of its picks:

  • 24/7
  • ballpark figure
  • bottom line
  • bear with me
  • address the issue
  • think outside the box
  • between a rock and a hard place
  • glass half full/empty
  • push the envelope
  • move the goalposts
  • it’s not rocket science
  • value-added
  • touch base
  • ongoing
  • literally

And the most grating cliché of all? P.E.C. members voted for "at the end of the day," "at this moment in time," "like" (as if it were a form of punctuation) and "with all due respect." You can learn more about the Plain English Campaign at www.plainenglish.co.uk.

Dear reader, bear with me on this survey because my hope is that, at the end of the day, it will address the issue of the over use of clichés and, bottom line, improve your written communications. Thinking outside the box to eliminate clichés is not rocket science and piece of cake. You can do it.

Dear Headhunter,
I have a very important interview coming up. I believe I do fine in interviews but my biggest problem is when the recruiter asks “do you have any questions for me?” Now what? They have told me the essentials of the job, I have researched the company when I can, and they leave me little leadway. What do I ask? Any generalizations?

Thanks, Daphne

Dear Daphne,
The best questions are as follows: I understand the job, but what would I be doing 65-75% of the time? Then, state how your background and skills can do the job for them. Sell yourself from past accomplishments. Final questions "I’m very excited about his opportunity and do you think my background fits? Is there anything standing in my way for the next interview (job offer) because I want this job?" Always close your interview by asking for the next step or job offer. Good luck on your interview.

Dear Headhunter,
My problem is that I was a stay-at-home mom. I am trying to get back into the work force. I am gifted when it comes to designing one’s furnishings in their home. I also have a gift when it comes to giving someone that special style to improve their look. My biggest problem, I have no degrees, and I need the finances now to get by. How can I convince a company to hire me?

Hope to hear from you soon, Bella

Dear Bella,
Re-entering the job market can be problematic at any age. The good news is there are many job openings that may fit your job search. The best place to start your new career is in sales. Many entry-level sales positions do not require a degree and will hire a person based on a good image and high energy level. You stated your image is great, so apply to retail sales companies. Apply only in-person to home furnishings and furniture stores - that’s where you have natural abilities. Your income will be modest to start, but you will gain the experience you need and just as important, you will network with people in the home decorating industry and that may lead to consulting or the interior design job you really want. All the best on your search. -George

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.