Job Interviews and Dating: Three Strikes You’re Out

Ask any of my friends about my dating life, and they will say that most are lucky to make it past the third date. Many find this magic number of three peculiar. However, I think it’s perfectly rational. You can usually figure out within the first 15 minutes of meeting someone if there is chemistry, a.k.a. you want to see them naked. Then, you spend the next few dates discovering if you want to learn more about them. By the end of the third date, you reach the conclusion of “that was nice” or even worse, “that was a waste of time”, and you know it’s time to call it quits and move on. However, if your curiosity is still peaked, a fourth date might be worth your wild.

Recently as I have been interviewing for a new job, and I came to the conclusion that the process for finding that perfect position – either with a mate or employment – is the same.

Like the three date rule with relationships, you usually know by the third interview if the job is right for you. Either your excitement about working with the company increases or you mark if off your list.

Think about it…

Interview #1:

You talk with the recruiter, usually over the phone, and you know right away if you could possibly see yourself working there. You don’t divulge too much on this first meeting. You feel it out to see if it’s a match.

giphy_hello there

Interview #2:

This is when you start getting into the details of the position and discussing your background. On a date, you might talk about your past dating history and family. And if you are bored out of your mind, you try to keep a smile on your face until the end.

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Typically the 2nd interview is longer than the first, and if they don’t pass muster, a third will never happen.

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Interview #3:

By now you have a feeling that there is something there, and you spend your time really digging into the details. Trying to figure out if you can really see yourself working there and what your day-to-day will look like once the “honeymoon” stage is over.

gif_got it

Of course, this is never an exact science. But if you know what you want and don’t want, the process is a lot easier.

What’s your interview process like?

Don’t forget to sign the #CMWorld yearbook

It’s that time of year again — Content Marketing World! It’s Monday evening, and Cleveland has been over taken by content marketers. EGHADS! To quote Drew Carey, “CLEVELAND ROCKS!” However, with a conference full of content marketers, how do you navigate through all the tweets and Instagrams to actually meet people…and wait for it…remember who you have meet IRL?

Well…Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media came up with an excellent strategy last year, the CMWorld Yearbook. It was such a hit last year, that Andy has brought it back this year (with a lil’ bit of pleading and favor granting that is). Since this is such a big project, he needed a little help, so @SFErika and I have raised our hands (or should I say digital and IRL networking skills) to help.

And… we need your help to make this year even bigger that last year’s CMWorld Yearbook. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Find one out of the three of us at #CMWorld to sign the #CMWyearbook. (Follow the hashtag #CMWYearbook to see who has it at any particular moment. We will be sharing tweets with photos during signing opps.) Find the #CMWYearbook
  2. Sign the yearbook. (Like duh!!)
  3. Let us take your photo and tweet it.
  4. If that doesn’t work, feel free to stalk tweet one of us to figure out where the #CMWyearbook is located.

Here’s who has signed it so far:

Empowering Women by Creating an Eco-Travel Resort

Have you ever met someone who simply amazes you? I mean amazes you in ways that words cannot express. It’s not the way they look or any particular skill they possess, but it’s more about the sheer size of their heart. Yeah… that kind of amazement. Webster’s defines awe as, “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.” However, I find the true meaning of “awe” when this phenomenon happens — like a beautiful sunset, a baby’s first smile or the moment you know someone truly loves you. The type that simply fills you with warmth. The type that makes you wonder, “Did this just really happen?”

DongdeealexaThat awe happened to me in Thailand when I met Alexa Pham, the co-owner of the Chai Lai Orchid. Alexa gave up her comfy life in New York, packed up or sold everything and moved out to Chiang Mai, Thailand to help create a brand new life for those who need it most — women who are at risk of becoming part of the world’s deep underbelly of sex trafficking. For years, Alexa had been helping Daughters Rising, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping prevent sex trafficking by empowering at-risk girls through education, training programs and scholarships. However, Alexa knew that she could do more to help at-risk girls. And, boy did she ever…

This past March when a met Alexa, the Chai Lai Orchid had just had it’s one year anniversary in January. Even though the road to building this eco-travel hotel was paved with good intentions, it was a bumpy ride to start. Alexa first had to find a location. That, believe it or not was the easy part. Her partner found the location as an abandoned, what we could only guess, housing. But when Alexa found it, the location might of well been a garbage dump. It took 8 of them 6 solid weeks just to dig the original buildings out from all the piles of garbage. The current location is right next to the river and an elephant sanctuary, so being so close to the river, the locals used the location to party and left their rubbish behind. After the clean up, it took about 3 months of renovation work. Some of the local tribes’ men were employed to assist in the renovation work and remain working at the eco-resort today.

Next, Alexa set on her quest to find at-risk women in the local villages. In the hills of Mae Wang, where Chai Lai Orchid is located, there are a number of tribal villages; each with it’s own dialect and language. Communication had to be difficult for the red-headed New Yorker, Alexa. In order to find the girls who need help the most, Alexa first introduced herself to all the tribal leaders in the area. She became apart of each community. The amazing part of the tribes in the area is that even though they are spread out, either by language or geography, they are all one big “family”. If one family needs to build a new house, everyone is there to help. If another tribe needs to plow their fields, everyone is in turn there to help. So the fact that Alexa wanted to help was not only welcomed by all, but appreciated.

At the Chai Lai Orchid, the women learn many new skills to help them create a life for themselves. Many of the women help out on the hospitality side of the eco-resort, either by being a waitress at the restaurant, a front desk hostess, working with housekeeping, cooking or even learning how to be a massage therapist. Because of the popularity of the eco-resort, the staff gets to interact with people from many different backgrounds and nationalities. All of which helps them not only learn new skills, but learn new languages. The job training program at the eco-resort lasts around 6- 8 months. Then, Alexa helps the women find either more training or begin a new job.

I asked Alexa about a few of her recent success stories. She told me one transgender girl, who just left the Chai Lai Orchid, started her own laundry mat in Chiang Mai. Another young girl, who was married at 12 years old and has two small twin boys to care for, opened her own home stay in her village. Now, like many of the women who go through the program, she has become self sufficient by earning her own income. While I was visiting the Chai Lai Orchid, there were two young, determined girls helping out. One found Alexa via word-of-mouth. She had only been in Thailand for about two months, living on a refugee camp. She wants to be a teacher and someday head back to Burma to teach Karan, a native language of a few of the villages. The other girl helped with the gardening and the guests around the hotel. She was studying English and human rights. Her goal is to go back to Burma someday and help people know and fully understand their rights. Alexa was in the process of finding her a four year program for her to attend after Chai Lai.

Today, Alexa has a waiting list of at-risk women who want to come work for the Chai Lai. Unfortunately, she has to turn some women away — not only does Alexa only have a few training spots, but many of the villagers around Mae Wang are refugees, they don’t have papers, which makes it difficult for Alexa to hire them.

Even after only four days at the Chai Lai Orchid, the memories of each and every person I met there are forever etched into my heart. The women and what Alexa is helping them achieve is truly inspiring. If you have time, I highly recommend visiting the Chai Lai Orchid. And if you have more time, consider volunteering at the eco-resort. Personally, I don’t know a better way to take a vacation than helping others.

Thanks Alexa for all you do!

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Why Travel Changes Your Tune

Life’s steady drum beat, the underlying rhythm of your life with its isometric pace  — the formality of your work, the predictability of your friends, the steady stream of unconscious thoughts that hit you like waves breaking on the shore — well, frankly, they can be boring.  Don’t get me wrong; I like some predictability in my life — to know what’s expected. But where’s the excitement in that?

Changing the expected

I like to think of life like a great symphony. You could live your life as a Mozart operatic masterpiece, with each character always having their own melody, like the intro music baseball players have when they first come to bat, or you could choose to live your live like a Shostakovich symphony – one with happy, joyful moments, mixed in with melancholy melodies and then the occasional off -beat, out of tune note that surprises you so much you wonder if the musician hit the wrong key only to realize they didn’t – it’s intentional. My life seems to follow a Mozart opera with the occasional Shostakovich moments.  Honestly, I’m not sure which one I enjoy more. They each have their time and place. But life is full of musical moments; sometimes you just have to play to your own tune, improvise your next score.

Why travel changes your tune

There are some adventures in life that have the ability to fundamentally change who and what you are, both inside and out.  Your internal musical meter can go from 3/4s, like a Viennese Waltz, to one that’s more like a Fantasia, where you have no measures and only basic meter and note values are provided, leaving you free to compose as you see fit. Just like in music, planning a score or trip with limited guidelines can lead you to venture out of your comfort zone. These types of adventures are my favorites!

Discovering yourself

Last month, I ventured to Thailand for a little over two weeks, all by myself. Everyone asked me before, during and even after the trip if I was ok to travel by myself. To be honest, and please don’t tell my Mother this, I was a little bit afraid. My first stop was in Bangkok, a city larger than any other city I have been to before. In fact, it’s almost 600% larger than San Francisco, where I currently live, and 1760% larger than my hometown of Galveston, TX. Talk about big! The size really didn’t scare me, but the fact that I don’t speak Thai really scared me. What happened if I got lost and no one spoke English around me? Then, I said, “Oh well, here’s to an adventure. I’ll never know until I try.” And you know what, I actually enjoyed the fact that I had little understanding of what was being said around me. To put it into perspective, it’s like listening to new music with an instrument you have never heard before. Not knowing the how the notes are created or what each word means gave me the piece of mind to really soak in my surroundings, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Fighting your fears of the unknown

Besides being around an unfamiliar language, silly me, I decided to push into the unknown even further by signing up for an adventure tour. Since I came down with Fibromyalgia over 14 years ago, I haven’t been too adventuresome, physically speaking at least. But hey, life is short, so why not. On this tour, I signed up for mountain biking and kayaking, both of which I haven’t done since I was a teenager. On the way up the mountain, an hour ride outside of Chiang Mai, my internal thoughts sounded something in between The Little Engine that Could… I think I can, I think I can and Geddes, A Familiar Rain,  “……and not out of fear or loneliness, but only to find myself again… for we have come too far my Life, to turn back now…”


Creating a constant stat of change

After fighting my fears of the limits of my physical abilities, I was unstoppable. My symphony of my adventure kept a steady crescendo from one adventure to the next.

From eating new foods…


To playing with tigers


To learning about an ancient culture…

To riding elephants….


My tune has changed forever because of my travels. No longer will my life be that pop melody, with it’s expected intro, repeating lyrical verse and grand exit. I will be always creating and recreating the story of my life.

Now the only question is, “where will I find my next tune?”