Interview Prep: How To Get Ready To Snag The Job Of Your Dreams

by Erica Francis

Interviewing for a job–especially when it’s a job you really want–can be overwhelming and stressful, which can cause issues for you when you’re speaking to the person in charge of hiring. You want to be relaxed, confident, and prepared in order to show how well you can handle yourself under pressure; this will give your potential employer a good idea of what you’ll be like if you’re hired. It’s not always easy, so it’s important to prepare as much as possible before the interview so you’ll feel comfortable.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get ready for the big day. From holding a mock interview to get familiar with possible questions to looking for ways to boost your confidence, you can start preparing weeks ahead of time. Ask a friend or family member to help you out, and start thinking about your physical appearance as it can be important when it comes to a first impression.

Keep reading for some wonderful tips on how to prep for a job interview.

Hold a mock interview

Ask a friend or family member to help you hold a mock interview; you can find some possible interview questions here. Thinking about your answers will help give you confidence on the big day and will prevent you from fumbling over your words when speaking to your potential employer. Think about how you want to present yourself, and write down sample answers to prepare; remember to speak eloquently and professionally, as this will reflect on you and your ability to interact with clients.

Get ready for your first impression

First impressions are incredibly important when it comes to job interviews, because it’s your chance to let your employer know what you’re all about. Don’t underestimate the power of a great outfit or a good haircut, and consider buying some new makeup or hair styling tools to help boost your confidence and give yourself a leg up on the competition. Go here for some great tips on how to get started.

Do some research

It’s imperative to do some research on the company you’re interviewing with so that when you’re asked what you know about their history, you can show how invested you are in the job. Get online and find out how many people they employ, what year they were founded, who the president is, and what their goals are. For instance, many companies these days are making more of an effort to go green for the environment; if this is important to you, it’s a great talking point in the interview.

Get some sleep

It can be difficult to get good rest the night before the big day, especially if you’re nervous. However, it’s imperative to get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be fresh and at the top of your game. Put away all screens–computer, television, and smartphone–at least an hour before you go to bed, and refrain from drinking anything with caffeine or eating meat (which is hard to digest and can interfere with your ability to go to sleep).

Getting ready for a job interview can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The best way to stay calm is to prepare as much as possible beforehand, and to give yourself plenty of time to do it so you won’t feel pressured. With a good plan and a little help from a loved one, you can make sure you’re ready to blow away your potential employer and snag the job of your dreams.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–be prepared to nail that job interview.

They Gave So Much For Me To Vote–I Have An Obligation To Let My Light Shine

Women were not always able to vote, and even when they were given the right to vote it was only for white women.  Native American women were the next group of women given the right to vote.  Some 32 years after women were given the right to vote Asian women were allowed to cast their ballot.  It took 44 years for African American women to be given the opportunity to do the same.

As an African American woman of a certain age, I owe all of these women for giving me the right to vote.  There are many men who I also must remember, but on this day I remember Fannie Lou Hamer who was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.  She made it possible for my grandmothers, mother, and aunts to have the opportunity to cast their ballot, and they did.  I owe it to all of the women who fought, lost homes, husbands, children and even their lives for me to cast my ballot every time there is an election.

Take a moment to listen to Fannie Lou Hamer as she speaks before the Democratic National Convention in 1964.  The full written transcript is below. I owe so much to Mrs. Hamer and her peers.  She was put out of her home and beaten all for trying to register to vote. Through all of this, she continued to always sing her favorite song “This Little Light of Mine”. The debt can never be repayed.

Mr. Chairman, and to the Credentials Committee, my name is Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and I live at 626 East Lafayette Street, Ruleville, Mississippi, Sunflower County, the home of Senator James O. Eastland, and Senator Stennis.

It was the 31st of August in 1962 that eighteen of us traveled twenty-six miles to the county courthouse in Indianola to try to register to become first-class citizens. We was met in Indianola by policemen, Highway Patrolmen, and they only allowed two of us in to take the literacy test at the time. After we had taken this test and started back to Ruleville, we was held up by the City Police and the State Highway Patrolmen and carried back to Indianola where the bus driver was charged that day with driving a bus the wrong color.

After we paid the fine among us, we continued on to Ruleville, and Reverend Jeff Sunny carried me four miles in the rural area where I had worked as a timekeeper and sharecropper for eighteen years. I was met there by my children, who told me the plantation owner was angry because I had gone down — tried to register.

After they told me, my husband came, and said the plantation owner was raising Cain because I had tried to register. And before he quit talking the plantation owner came and said, “Fannie Lou, do you know — did Pap tell you what I said?”

And I said, “Yes, sir.”

He said, “Well I mean that.”

Said, “If you don’t go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave.”

Said, “Then if you go down and withdraw.”

Said, “You still might have to go because we’re not ready for that in Mississippi.”

And I addressed him and told him and said, “I didn’t try to register for you. I tried to register for myself.”

I had to leave that same night.

On the 10th of September 1962, sixteen bullets was fired into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tucker for me. That same night two girls were shot in Ruleville, Mississippi. Also, Mr. Joe McDonald’s house was shot in.

And June the 9th, 1963, I had attended a voter registration workshop; was returning back to Mississippi. Ten of us was traveling by the Continental Trailway bus. When we got to Winona, Mississippi, which is Montgomery County, four of the people got off to use the washroom, and two of the people — to use the restaurant — two of the people wanted to use the washroom.

The four people that had gone in to use the restaurant was ordered out. During this time I was on the bus. But when I looked through the window and saw they had rushed out I got off of the bus to see what had happened. And one of the ladies said, “It was a State Highway Patrolman and a Chief of Police ordered us out.”

I got back on the bus and one of the persons had used the washroom got back on the bus, too.

As soon as I was seated on the bus, I saw when they began to get the five people in a highway patrolman’s car. I stepped off of the bus to see what was happening and somebody screamed from the car that the five workers was in and said, “Get that one there.” And when I went to get in the car, when the man told me I was under arrest, he kicked me.

I was carried to the county jail and put in the booking room. They left some of the people in the booking room and began to place us in cells. I was placed in a cell with a young woman called Miss Ivesta Simpson. After I was placed in the cell I began to hear sounds of licks and screams. I could hear the sounds of licks and horrible screams. And I could hear somebody say, “Can you say, ‘yes, sir,’ nigger? Can you say ‘yes, sir’?”

And they would say other horrible names.

She would say, “Yes, I can say ‘yes, sir.'”

“So, well, say it.”

She said, “I don’t know you well enough.”

They beat her, I don’t know how long. And after a while she began to pray, and asked God to have mercy on those people.

And it wasn’t too long before three white men came to my cell. One of these men was a State Highway Patrolman and he asked me where I was from. And I told him Ruleville. He said, “We are going to check this.” And they left my cell and it wasn’t too long before they came back. He said, “You are from Ruleville all right,” and he used a curse word. And he said, “We’re going to make you wish you was dead.”

I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two Negro prisoners. The State Highway Patrolmen ordered the first Negro to take the blackjack. The first Negro prisoner ordered me, by orders from the State Highway Patrolman, for me to lay down on a bunk bed on my face. And I laid on my face, the first Negro began to beat me.

And I was beat by the first Negro until he was exhausted. I was holding my hands behind me at that time on my left side, because I suffered from polio when I was six years old.

After the first Negro had beat until he was exhausted, the State Highway Patrolman ordered the second Negro to take the blackjack.

The second Negro began to beat and I began to work my feet, and the State Highway Patrolman ordered the first Negro who had beat to sit on my feet — to keep me from working my feet. I began to scream and one white man got up and began to beat me in my head and tell me to hush.

One white man — my dress had worked up high — he walked over and pulled my dress — I pulled my dress down and he pulled my dress back up.

I was in jail when Medgar Evers was murdered.

All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens. And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?

Thank you.

There are so many others to thank, to them I can say

I voted 1

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”  you have a privilege that many before you didn’t. Honor them by casting your ballot, and letting your light shine.

Why Sit When You Can Stand?

It is amusing that people try to dictate when people should revert to rocking in the good old rocking chair.  Don’t get me wrong, I love rocking chairs.  There is something about rocking in a chair that reminds me of the comfort of home.  But saying that I was recently asked by someone who I considered to be a good friend when I was gonna sit down.

I didn’t answer, but it was a question for thought.  She said that it seemed that I was always on the go, always doing something, and even when I was just at home, it seemed that I was busy even if I was doing basically nothing.

Then it hit me, this person was one who loved to talk about age.  You know the person that loves to tell you how old they are, and the things they can’t do anymore.  Why is it that we are constantly telling others and most importantly ourselves what we can’t do anymore?  Most children think they can do just about anything, it is only as we age that we embrace what we can’t do.  My grandson recently attempted a gymnastics routine as I call it where you slide down the slide, propel yourself up and catch the monkey bars.  He did catch the monkey bars, but as the broken arm will attest he let go.

Even with the broken arm, he has decided that he is not to young/old to attempt this feat.  He goes go school, tutoring, plays sports, participates in worship at church, has play dates, studies, and so much more.  He knows exactly what has to be done, and those that he and his parents consider to be of less importance.

I say all of this just to say when he gets tired, and believe it or not he does get tired–he sits down for a rest.  But guess what, when he regains his strength, he is on the go again.  I know, I know you will probably say that he is all of nine years of age. But it should be the same for any age.

For once I am taking Honey’s Baby’s lead  (that’s my name for him).  When I get tired, I’ll sit down and rest for a while then get up again. My mother always told me that one day I might not be able to do the things I want to do so go for it.  I am also taking her advice.  So when I can’t any more, I will have great memories to bore my grandchildren with.  They will see that Honey had a ball even when she sat down and rocked.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You will know when it is time to sit down and rest.

rocking chair 1

 

The Scars Of Breast Cancer Are Not Pretty In Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and everyone will be wearing pink in the form of ribbons, shirts, tee shirts and more.  What we see doing this awareness month is everyone being “pretty in pink”.

We have all known someone who has been affected by this horrific disease, or we may be that person. Most survivors carry scars from their treatments to defeat breast cancer.  Some of the scars are physical, but some are mental and not only affect them, but their loved ones too.  There are those women and men who carry both types of scars. Breast cancer is an equal opportunity disease, it does not discriminate when it comes to who is affected by it.

Sometimes the chemo may cause the hair to fall out, it can even affect the color of ones skin tone.  The scars of mastectomies may be covered, but they are there nonetheless.  Some survivors have lymphedema in their arms after the mastectomies.

Mammograms do not catch every type of breast cancer, but they do aid in the detection of many.  This imaging can be expensive if you do not have health insurance.  There are places in every community that offer free or low cost services.  Below is a list of  some of the ones in Tarrant County and the surrounding counties in Texas.  Please share with us those in your area so that everyone can benefit from these services.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about more than being “pretty in pink”.  It’s about being informed and finding a cure.

breast cancer 3

 

 

 

Walking The Walk

I am sure there are others, but Mrs. Doreetha Daniels at the age of 99 is one of my inspirations.  After taking decades off she decided to give college a try. This lady has had a successful career, successful marriage, raised a family and has great-grandchildren. Getting a degree was something that she always wanted to, but as it is with a lot of us life just got in the way.

Her story is one that many people have endured. Some of things that she endured are listed below.

  • Unable to meet state residency requirements
  • Got married
  • Raised a family
  • Death in the family
  • Illness
  • Too old
  • Transportation problems
  • Unable to use technology
  • And on and on…..

None of these things deterred Doreetha Daniels from doing what she sat out to do.  She received her Associate’s Degree just before her 100th birthday and has not decided what she will do next–maybe a Bachelor’s Degree.  Sounds kind of like the average college graduate.

Take a look at Doreetha.  Let her be an example for all of us. She is a woman of a certain age who sat a goal and accomplished it.

What’s stopping you from accomplishing your goal of a new career, starting a business, traveling, writing, becoming a chef or anything else?

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You can do it. Read more about Doreetha’s journey here.

 

A Love Like No Other–Being Grandparents

Who would have thought that becoming a grandparent could be so enjoyable?  From the time that little bundle of joy is put in your arms you find yourself on cloud nine. The love you feel for this tiny person swells up more each time you see them.

Grandparenting has always been special to those that were fortunate enough to know and love their grandparents.  My paternal grandparents lived less than 15 minutes from our house, and my material grandparents lived about an hour away so grandparents were always present.

The ones that lived closer took us to piano lessons on Saturday, picked us up for Sunday School, and had homemade delicious snacks after school.  You know things like hamburgers, french fries, cake, pie–do I need to go on. Those were special times that even now bring a smile to my heart.  The love I had for my grandparents only came in second to my parents.

So when I heard that we would become grandparents 9 years ago I was excited.  I could just image combing the little girls hair, putting in pretty bows, buying cute little dresses, dolls and more.  Then they told us they were going to give us a grandson.  I told them to give him back because we didn’t do boys–just girls. We now do boys.

Who would know that Joseph Foster II better known as Joey to us, and JoJo to his parents and aunt would steal our hearts. I can remember when he was not even walking, and the Dallas Cowboys had an open practice at the stadium–my sister and I picked him up from the sitter and took him to the practice.  We were so excited telling his parents about our outing. Even to this day I know that he enjoyed looking at the big screen.

His aunt and I taught him how to fly a kite when he was about three. Somehow he seemed to always find the one power line, but it was fun.  We decided to make a cake and decorate for his moms birthday.  He used this mixer, decorated the cake and the table.

Even when he was younger and just starting to walk we took him home to Longview to visit our neighbors.  We stopped to have our favorite burger, and he threw so many fries on the floor that we asked the manager for the broom to clean up.  He got a way with things that his mom and aunt could never have done.

No I don’t see him every day, but when I see him, I try to always make it special for both of us. This summer I ask him to write me a letter each week telling me about his week. I love my updates.

Does he like seeing his grandparents all of the time–of course not, but hopefully the memories that we make will mean just as much to him as they do to me.  He knows that his Paw Paw and Honey love him unconditionally.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You can love your grandchildren, give them love and send them home to be with their parents.  Grandparents need rest after visits. Enjoy your day.

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY!

Go to our facebook page and post a picture of your grandchildren. Share the joy and love!

It’s Never Too Late–Just Ask Me

It was a great evening being interviewed by Matt Blake and Casey Sanders of the show “Inspired to Greatness”. The discussion was about the subject It’s Never too Late.  As a woman of a certain age, it was an easy conversation for me to have.

Hope you will enjoy the conversation

 

To hear more conversations with Matt and Casey go to Inspired to Greatness.  Enjoy the conversations, and remember it’s never too late because “thisisyourbestyear”.

If It Works For You

Most people have read or heard all of the information on what makes a successful marriage. How to keep a husband/wife happy, the 5 or 10 or 15 steps to a happy marriage. How to fight fair. Men are from wherever and women are from some other place.

On August 4 I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary. People asked if it felt like 40 years, did the time just fly by and other such nonsense. They also wanted to know how we made it work, was the relationship 50/50, how did having children change the dynamics of the marriage, who was the one with the last word?

There is no magic in having a successful, most of the time happy marriage. I love those people who say that every day it was almost perfect because they married their perfect mate. I personally don’t know who they married because I don’t know two perfect people.

First of all we were parented by different people. That plays a big part in the marriage. Whether we want to admit it or not, we learned from our parents–good or bad, and our parents learned from their parents and so on.

So I thought I would give you some of the myth busters that I have encountered.

  1. Never go to bed mad. Stop it! You still have to go to work because there are bills that must be paid. So go to sleep, sleep on the problem, and for the most part it may solve itself with a nights sleep. In all honesty sometimes when you sleep on something you see the other persons position.
  2. Hide some of “your” money, you never know when you might need it, and make sure you don’t let the spouse know. They know. Put it in an account with your name on it and move on.
  3. Always put your money in a joint account. You can if you want to. You know what has to be paid, and when it should be paid. Some people are not good with money. I have found that a lot of couples have separate accounts and everything works out for them.
  4. Marriage is 50/50–of what? I will leave this one alone.
  5. Marry your best friend. If I married my best friend then who am I going to have to vent my frustrations about him with? My best friend has known me since second grade.
  6. Happy couples never disagree. Who wants to be with someone who thinks exactly like they do?
  7. You should share the same interest and do everything together. We don’t even like the same movies. I’m a happy movie fan, and he’s a kill 15 people in the first five minutes fan. We compromise, well at least I compromise and go with him. He suggest that I go with my best friend to see my type of movies.
  8. You complete each other. If it takes another person to complete you, then you will never be complete. You are your own person. That’s what drew them to you in the first place.
  9. Never sleep in separate beds/bedrooms. My paternal grandparents never slept in the same room, and they were married over 60 years–they seemed very happy. They could see each other from their rooms.  I know some people who sleep in separate rooms because one snores and keeps the other one up. One suggestion is to purchase an adjustable bed–it helps if snoring is a concern.

What makes a successful marriage? I wish I knew. I can tell you that it is always a work in progress. The one thing that is a constant with us is that no matter what, prayers are said before we close our eyes and when we open them in the morning. We truly believe that prayer helps everything. He will never be a cat person, and dogs are growing on me.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. If it works for you…….

Is It Or Isn’t It–How Do We Know?

One of my pet peeves is the word organic.  What exactly is organic?  What is the difference between Whole Foods and Wal-Mart’s organic?  The price is different so does that mean the quality is different?  What are the requirements for something to be considered organic?  Do we believe them?  I can tell you that I can tell the difference in cage-free eggs and regular eggs.  That’s about it though.  To be sure that our fruits and veggies are organic we need to plant and grow our own.

Then there is that meat thing. We all know that turkeys and chickens are not that large.  The mutant turnkey they sell us for Thanksgiving is as large as the pig the ham came from. I remember going to visit relatives once and seeing what they call a yard chicken.  I told my mom they needed to feed him, and that’s when she told me that was the size he should be.  And another thing, how many wings does a chicken have?  Where are the other parts of the chicken?  Seriously every restaurant has “wings” on the menu, but they don’t have thighs, breast or the other part of the wing on the menu.  So where are the other parts–mutant chickens with 10 wings?

The size of the chicken parts at different fast food restaurants is dramatically different.  At some, it seems you might be eating parakeets and others turkeys if you go by the size.  How is this possible that they say they are all serving chicken?

All of the different cooking oils from vegetable, olive, saffron, coconut, canola and so many more.  Which one is better, and do you need to keep one of each depending on

 

what you are cooking?  My mom used Crisco for everything, and she could cook.  In fact everyone I knew used Crisco.  Doesn’t seem that we are any healthier.  No, we never used lard so don’t go there.

I have a lot of other pet peeves when it comes to food, but you would be reading a novel.  My last one is expiration dates.  I don’t do a lot of cans or boxes, but when I do I look at the dates.  A recent report said they just put any date on the cans and boxes even the eggs and milk.  So when do I throw it out?  At one time I could tell you if an egg was good just by holding it in my hand–out of practice now.

I must admit that I do have about 5 different kinds of oil in my cabinets.  Can I tell the difference–sometimes.

cooking oil 2

When our mother’s, grandmother’s and my great-aunt Alice cooked they used Crisco in a can, but they cooked with love, and we loved it.  It was better than any 5-star restaurant Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  There is always something new, but love makes everything taste better.

 

 

 

Alzheimer’s Caregivers–“Til Death Do Us Part”

It attacks the brain and is the most common type of dementia–this is Alzheimer’s. There is no age requirement when it comes to the early onset of Alzheimer’s. We tend to think of our parents and grandparents when we think of Alzheimer’s, but the youngest person diagnosed with it was only 27.

The stories below are some of the examples of what it means when one states in their wedding vow: “til death do us part”. Each one of these has taken a different approach.

Mike and Carol’s journey was one that Mike was determined to make with her at home. Over the course of 10 years, and his health failing both mentally and physically he had to make a decision. A decision that was the best for both of them. Mike made the decision that even with 24 hour a day caregivers Carol needed more. He made the decision to put her into a facility.

As some caregivers think back over time, they realize there may have been signs they may have missed. As Barry Petersen talks about his wife, he tells how she changed years earlier before she was diagnosed.

All of the caregivers vowed to always take care of their spouse. They came to the realization that taking care of them meant they must face the difficult decision to put their love one into a care facility, not only for their care but the care of themselves.

Take a look at Barry and Jan and their journey with Alzheimer’s. Jan has since passed away.

Dan and B were the “it” couple that I watched on her weekly lifestyle show. From their beautifully decorated home in Sag Harbor to her wonderful restaurant that I visited in Washington, DC. They seemed to be living the dream until….. As of the writing of this article, B. Smith still remains at her home in Sag Harbor with Dan.

One important take away from all three of these cases is that couples should talk about their wishes if they become afflicted by this disease. The caregiver should have instructions that will make his/her decision on care much easier, and with less guilt.

As we mature, we do seem to forget more which does not mean that we have Alzheimer’s. The chart below is a simple way to explains the difference.

alzheimer anddementia

Alzheimer’s came to my family with my paternal grandmother. It was something that seemed to strike out of nowhere, and life-altering decisions had to be made immediately. My grandfather had died years earlier, but I know that he would have been like the spouses above, he would take care of his wife as she had always taken care of him. Even though in the later years of his life he was in failing health, he would be determined–“til death do us part”. Some conversations are hard to have, but a necessity as life continues.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Taking care of someone does not mean doing it all alone there are resources.

Try these sites and others for information on being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Support Programs and Information

National Institute on Aging

AARP Help and Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers